The board of directors of OpenAI, the company behind the AI-powered chatbots ChatGPT and GPT-4, has announced the dismissal of its CEO, Sam Altman. The board stated that it has lost confidence in him, following an internal investigation that found he was not always truthful.
In a statement, the board said, “Mr. Altman’s departure follows a thorough review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.” Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent successor is chosen.
The news of Altman’s sacking has sent shockwaves throughout the budding AI industry. ChatGPT, the chatbot he helped develop, launched late last year and made him an overnight quasi-celebrity. It is one of a new crop of AI tools that can generate images and texts in response to simple user prompts, called generative AI. Since its launch, the technology has been deployed by Microsoft on its search engine and other tools, while Google has a rival called “Bard,” and other generative AI tools have been developed in recent months.
Not long after its release, ChatGPT became almost synonymous with AI itself, with CEOs using it to draft emails, people building websites with no prior coding experience, and it even passing exams from law and business schools.
Despite being an advocate for AI, Altman is also one of its biggest critics. Earlier this year, he testified before Congress, describing the technology’s current boom as a pivotal moment.