□ The king together

Late at night on November 11, local time, the American artificial intelligence company "Open Artificial Intelligence Research Center" (OpenAI) announced on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that an agreement had been reached in principle to return to the company as CEO Sam Altman, the company's co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO), known as the "father of ChatGPT". So far, this OpenAI "palace fighting drama" that has stirred up the technology world has ended in a dramatic way after 21 hours of dizzying reversals and reversals.

The shock is finally visible

As an artificial intelligence company, OpenAI has gained a lot of attention around the world because it launched ChatGPT, a large language model, about a year ago, which set off a boom in generative AI. In recent days, OpenAI's management personnel turmoil has sparked heated discussions in the industry and even around the world.

This "palace fighting drama" that stirred up the science and technology industry ushered in a dramatic end on the 21st. OpenAI not only announced Altman's return on the social media platform X on the same day, but also announced the formation of a new "initial" board of directors, chaired by former Saftse co-CEO Brett Taylor, and other board members include former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and the company's former independent director, Adam Dangello, CEO of the online Q&A site Quora.

According to foreign media reports, a source familiar with the negotiations revealed that the only job of this "initial" board is to review and appoint a new formal board of up to nine people, thereby resetting OpenAI's governance model. Microsoft will likely have a seat on the expanded board, as will Altman himself.

After the statement was released, Altman quickly reposted it with a heart and a "salute" symbol, and posted: "I love OpenAI, and everything I've done over the past few days has been to keep this team and its mission intact. ”

Greg Brockman, former chairman of the board of directors of OpenAI, was also quick to retweet and comment: "Amazing progress has been made today, and we will be stronger and more united than ever." He then posted a photo of his return on social platforms.

Microsoft is OpenAI's largest investor and important partner. On the same day, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that he was encouraged by the change in OpenAI's board of directors, and said that this is the first key step towards more robust, smooth, and effective governance for OpenAI.

In this regard, the "New York Times" commented that Altman's return and the reorganization plan of the board of directors have drawn an end to the "crazy five days" affecting OpenAI.

Experienced a lot of wrestling

According to a number of media analysts, OpenAI's personnel turmoil is due to its unique governance structure (that is, it is still controlled by its non-profit parent company and board of directors). Previously, the artificial intelligence company has undergone several personnel changes.

This incident dates back to November 11, local time, when Altman was suddenly dismissed by OpenAI's former board of directors, and then his ally Brockman on the board also announced his resignation. OpenAI's board of directors posted on social platform X that Altman's departure was a conclusion reached by the board of directors after deliberation, and that because he was not honest in communicating with the board of directors, which hindered the board's ability to perform its duties, the board no longer believed that he was capable of continuing to lead OpenAI. In addition, Co-founder and President Brockman will no longer serve as Chairman of the Board.

On November 11, local time, the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that OpenAI's investors pressured the board of directors to revoke the decision to remove Altman.

On November 11, local time, Nadella posted on social media that Altman and Brockman will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced artificial intelligence research team, and said that he is "still committed to cooperation with OpenAI".

On the same day, more than 95% of OpenAI employees signed a joint letter of protest, saying that if OpenAI does not dissolve the company's board of directors, reappoint Altman as CEO, and bring Brockman back, they will resign and join Microsoft. The letter said the board's "firing" of Altman and Brockman "has jeopardized all of our work and undermined our mission and our company." According to statistics, the number of employees who signed the above open letter is more than 700, while the total number of employees of OpenAI is about 770.

Ilya Sutskevi, chief scientist at OpenAI, who is believed to be the mastermind of the incident, also signed the joint letter and issued a statement saying that he deeply regretted his previous participation in the board of directors.

After more than 95% of employees collectively "forced the palace", Altman reposted a large number of OpenAI employees' posts on the social media platform X that "OpenAI is nothing without employees". Subsequently, Altman posted two more posts to reassure OpenAI employees, saying that he was proud of the company's management team and that "I'm excited that we will all work together in some way."

In this way, after many wrestling, Altman returned to OpenAI, and this "palace fighting drama" came to an end temporarily.

The company may be hit hard

The crisis triggered by OpenAI's firing of Altman has been in the global spotlight in the past few days. At present, although this "palace fighting drama" that happened in a world-famous artificial intelligence company has come to an end, it has also triggered a lot of thinking.

Before and after the personnel turmoil, there were people inside and outside OpenAI who questioned whether the company's AI development speed was safe, and whether Altman's digital currency and nuclear fission projects were in conflict of interest with the company.

At the same time, there are also media outlets that view the incident from a business perspective. The Wall Street Journal commented on the 21st that just a week ago, OpenAI was also very promising to become the next Google or Facebook. Now, however, it has been compared to Netscape and Silicon Map, and these once-glamorous companies have been reduced to the "dust of history" in Silicon Valley.

The report also mentioned that OpenAI was originally preparing for a large-scale IPO (initial public offering) to enhance its status as a "global AI leader" and become a "predator" in the capital market with a huge valuation of $860 billion. But after the botched "palace fight", the hottest company in Silicon Valley for many years took a big hit.

The New York Times also said on the 21st that the most obvious loser in this infighting is OpenAI itself. According to The Information, OpenAI's customers are looking for opportunities to exit, suggesting that the company may be hit hard by the massive outflow of business.

Some media pointed out that the technology giant Microsoft is quite active in OpenAI's "palace fight". After OpenAI announced Altman's return, the latter specifically thanked Microsoft's CEO for his support at X, saying, "I look forward to returning to OpenAI and building on the strong partnership with Microsoft."

Currently, many of the world's big tech companies are developing AI models. According to the Wall Street Journal's analysis, OpenAI's personnel turmoil has exposed the debate about the ethics and risks of artificial intelligence, as well as the fear of creating artificial general intelligence (AGI). In the future, there will be more shocks and reshuffles in the emerging field of artificial intelligence.