The Longer Read

Doomers vs tech boomers: inside OpenAI’s bizarre boardroom battle with the man ‘who can see the future’

In seven days the AI powerhouse burned through three CEOs, two boards and a boss who was fired and then reinstated when the staff threatened to walk out. So what is it about Sam Altman – the ‘Albert Einstein of tech’ – that triggered such a chaotic chain reaction? Chris Stokel-Walker investigates...

Wednesday 22 November 2023 19:44 GMT
Comments
<p>Survival instinct: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is described as possessing such a persuasive personality that ‘you could parachute him into an island full of cannibals and come back in five years and he’d be the king’ </p>

Survival instinct: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is described as possessing such a persuasive personality that ‘you could parachute him into an island full of cannibals and come back in five years and he’d be the king’

It may go down as one of the most bizarre boardroom takeovers in modern business history – and perhaps the most consequential for us all, given the company to which it happened.

OpenAI, the Californian firm spearheading the generative AI revolution with the release of ChatGPT less than one year ago, has undergone a frenetic five days that has seen it cycle through three CEOs and two executive boards – only to end up with the same man in charge as it started the cycle with: Sam Altman, who only last Friday the board said was sensationally fired because he was “not consistently candid” in his business dealings.

The lack of specificity – what that lack of candour related to – still hasn’t been fully explained but helped kickstart a series of dominos falling, and frantic social media speculation over more lurid allegations around Altman’s life that was fuelled in part by his estranged sister and now sex worker Annie.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in