FPJ Editorial: Musical Chairs At GPT

FPJ Editorial: Musical Chairs At GPT

The threat of an employee exodus became the battle cry: "OpenAI is nothing without its people."

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Friday, November 24, 2023, 01:37 AM IST
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Sam Altman | Twitter

In a bizarre turn of events at the world's hottest startup, OpenAI, Sam Altman's dance between staying and leaving resembled a game of musical chairs with more twists than a sci-fi plot. On November 17, OpenAI's board gave their CEO the boot, triggering a comical game of executive hopscotch. First, it seemed Altman might waltz over to Microsoft, OpenAI's big-money buddy. But hold the silicon! OpenAI's rebels, including a board conspirator turned dissenter, threatened a mass exodus unless Altman was reinstated. Amidst the chaos, the top brass resorted to tweeting heart emojis, turning Twitter into an AI soap opera.

Plot circles back

Four days later, the plot circled back, leaving us wondering if this startup saga was scripted by a malfunctioning ChatGPT. Picture frantic meetings, heart emojis, and executives navigating their ship through stormy seas of discontent — all for a startup slated to be worth $90 billion. The shenanigans underscore the power of AI talent. The threat of an employee exodus became the battle cry: "OpenAI is nothing without its people." As the chaos unfolded, Microsoft and other tech giants eagerly awaited disgruntled staff, giving Altman and his programmers a bargaining chip that shattered the board's control attempts.

Spotlight on OpenAI's quirky structure

This rollercoaster also spotlights OpenAI's quirky structure — a non-profit with a for-profit sidekick, juggling Microsoft's hefty investment. The illusion of power with the non-profit board, dedicated to humanity's interests, crumbled as a profit-maximising Microsoft loomed large. Policing cutting-edge tech with corporate structures is like herding cats. OpenAI's structure contradictions were exposed as conflicts of interest ran amok. Even if OpenAI's brainiacs were as brilliant as they believed, the task proved too much. The murky motives behind Altman's ousting leave us pondering. Did the board have humanity's best interests at heart, or were they just playing corporate chess? Reports hint at a new board featuring Altman and a Microsoft rep, but swapping faces won't fix the structural wackiness. As OpenAI reshuffles the deck, one thing's clear — this startup saga could use a better scriptwriter.

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