Sam Altman, the OpenAI CEO spectacularly fired last week, is back at his post after days of negotiations. The board that tried to force him out will mostly be gone, too, giving him a free hand to rapidly develop and commercialize AI technology. Though it's far from clear why he and the board were at loggerheads to begin with, factors reportedly include the board wishing to preserve the ostensible nonprofit's charter and concerns over AI's danger and risks. The most important factor, though, was Microsoft's $10bn investment in OpenAI and its ability to recruit its payroll wholesale if need be. It, with Altman, are being hailed this morning as the big winners of the imbroglio.
"We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board," the company said, adding that the board will be chaired by Bret Taylor, a former co-CEO of Salesforce. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers will also join the board, alongside existing director, Quora CEO Adam D'Angelo.
"We are collaborating to figure out the details," it said.
In his own post on X, formerly Twitter, Altman wrote that he is "looking forward" to returning to OpenAI and building on the firm's "strong partnership" with Microsoft, which is the ChatGPT maker's biggest financial backer.
The firing was also notable for turning Altman into a Silicon Valley martyr: by the end of the weekend every tech aspirant's dreams, from big investors to the bluechecks on social media, were somehow snarled up in his fate.