Sam Altman, former CEO of OpenAI, takes photos with attendees during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in San Francisco
Washington (AFP) - OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT a year ago, said Friday it had dismissed CEO Sam Altman as it no longer had confidence in his ability to lead the Microsoft-backed firm.
Altman, 38, became a tech world sensation with the release of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot with unprecedented capabilities, churning out human-level content like poems or artwork in just seconds.
OpenAI’s board said in a statement that Altman’s departure “follows a deliberative review process,” which concluded “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,” it added.
Altman’s decision last year to release the app paid off in ways he never imagined, catapulting the Missouri-born Stanford dropout to household name stardom.
The launch of ChatGPT ignited an AI race, with contenders including tech giants Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Meta.
Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI and has woven the company’s technology into its offerings, including search engine Bing.
Altman has testified before US Congress about AI and spoken with heads of state about the technology, as pressure ramps up to regulate against risks such as AI’s potential use in bioweapons, misinformation and other threats.
The statement said the board was “grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward.”
Altman would be replaced on an interim basis by Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, the statement said.
- ‘Lots of empathy’ -
OpenAI’s board of directors consists of OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Helen Toner.
Altman earlier this month led a major developer’s conference for OpenAI, announcing a new set of products that were largely met positively in Silicon Valley.
The young CEO on Thursday told AFP he understood some of the worries when it came to how people feel about AI and its disruptive powers.
”(I have) lots of empathy for why anyone would feel, however they feel, about this,” he told AFP of the platform that is credited with launching the revolution in generative artificial intelligence (AI).
Altman was speaking on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco where he was swarmed by fans after his appearance, many of whom wanted to take selfies with him.