Sam Altman speaks out on being fired by OpenAI and bearing no ill-will against Ilya Sutskever
Sam Altman returns as OpenAI CEO after a shock, but brief, departure. In an interview, he hints at the reasons, expressing joy and addressing changes in governance, including Microsoft's involvement.
In a recent turn of events, Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI, has reclaimed his position as the CEO of OpenAI after a tumultuous episode involving his shocking initial dismissal and subsequent reinstatement. The lingering question that has stayed in many people's minds is the reason behind this unexpected sequence of events. During an interview with The Verge, Altman addressed this query and more. While refraining from disclosing the initial cause of his dismissal, he expressed his joy at rejoining the company. Altman emphasised that the matter is still under investigation, urging that such questions should be directed to the OpenAI board rather than himself.
When The Verge questioned his initial emotions upon OpenAI's offer to return, Altman admitted to feeling hurt and angry and quite unwilling to entertain the thought.
"Honestly, I was hurt and angry, and I thought this sucks. It took me a few minutes to snap out of it and get over the ego and emotions. Then, pretty immediately, I started thinking about how much I love the company," said Altman.
In a blog post, Altman extended gratitude, particularly to OpenAI co-founder and former board member Ilya Sutskever. Despite Sutskever's alleged involvement in Altman's firing, Altman harbours "zero ill will" and describes him as a "guiding light" and a "gem of a human being." Discussions are ongoing about Sutskever's continued contribution to OpenAI, even though he won't retain a position on the new board.
Microsoft's Enhanced Role
A notable change in OpenAI's governance involves Microsoft, the company's major financial supporter with a hefty investment exceeding $10 billion. Despite its previous limited control, Altman revealed that Microsoft would now secure a non-voting observer position on OpenAI's new board. This shift marks a more direct involvement of Microsoft in shaping the strategic decisions and direction of the AI company, aligning with the ongoing collaboration between the two entities.