Sam Altman set to return as OpenAI CEO after shocking removal

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OpenAI’s creator, ChatGPT, revealed on Tuesday that Sam Altman would resume the role of CEO, just days after his unexpected removal caused significant turmoil for the groundbreaking artificial intelligence company.

Altman’s sudden departure on Friday prompted vigorous efforts from OpenAI’s major investors, including tech giant Microsoft, to bring him back.

In a letter made public, hundreds of OpenAI employees issued a threat to resign, calling for the board’s resignation amid swirling speculation about the company’s future.

OpenAI wrote on X that it “reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo.”

“We are collaborating to figure out the details.”

Earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed plans to enlist Altman to head an AI research team. Altman confirmed on Tuesday that his return had the support of Nadella.

Microsoft has injected billions of dollars into OpenAI, integrating its technology into various products, including the Bing search engine.

The company’s data centers played a vital role in the evolution of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, whose success triggered a global race in AI research and development worth billions of dollars.

Nadella had said that “governance changes” were needed at OpenAI to avoid such disruptive surprises.

“We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board,” the Microsoft CEO said on X Tuesday.”

“We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance.”

The most recent announcement seemed to bring an end to the tumultuous events set in motion by Altman’s termination last week.

Despite the OpenAI board, which included the highly regarded AI researcher and company co-founder Ilya Sutskever, affirming their decision to dismiss Altman on Sunday and appointing Emmett Shear as interim CEO, this did little to diminish the discontent within the company or alleviate concerns among OpenAI’s investors.

Sutskever was among the signatories of the letter from OpenAI’s employees demanding the board’s ouster.

“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions,” he wrote on X on Monday. “I never intended to harm OpenAI.”

Generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT are trained on vast amounts of data to enable them to answer questions, even complex ones, in human-like language.

They are also used to generate and manipulate imagery.

But the tech has triggered warnings about the dangers of its misuse — from blackmailing people with “deepfake” images to the manipulation of images and harmful disinformation.