OpenAI will benefit from the unity of purpose of Sam Altman’s return

If you miss it, Sam Altman returns as OpenAI CEO. His reinstatement comes after a whirlwind few days in which we saw unusual corporate governance that led to an attempt to oust Altman, despite support from Microsoft and the majority of OpenAI workers. . While the whole process is very messy, the result seems to be a more powerful OpenAI, with a new clarity of mission and purpose.

To be clear, nothing about this feels deliberate or strategic: in fact, every twist and turn seems to come out of nowhere, from Microsoft’s offer to hire Altman and Greg Brockman, to the shock drop-in of Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as interim CEO – and who could have predicted the Harry Potter fanfic community tie-in.

Despite the sheer chaos of how we got here, I think the end result will be a stronger and more unified OpenAI, which, even if it doesn’t benefit Microsoft in the same way as the acquisition of team, which did not get the company, still. means Satya Nadella and Redmond are probably better than ever, too.

First, OpenAI’s revised government structure is likely to be much friendlier to Microsoft, offering it predictability and stability from its main partner in the generative AI race. Second, Nadella’s guidance and support of Altman and Brockman, and the ultimately victorious team comprised of their allies, will likely never be forgotten. Nadella has wisely secured himself a position as a key ally, and trusted by the most powerful man in generative AI today.

For OpenAI itself, the whole episode led to a ‘rallying of the troops,’ as evidenced by the list of employees who signed the open letter to the board demanding Altman’s return. In the end, more than 710 of the company’s 770 employees signed the letter, which also demanded that the current board resign; possibly, the number would have been even higher, if some of the employees had not already relied on their jobs at OpenAI for immigration purposes.

Although you can’t count it as a pure approval rating for the game, given the polarized circumstances in which it appeared, it’s another important sign of support for Altman’s leadership and philosophy, when it comes to strategy. in the OpenAI business. The letter and the number of its signatures obviously do not tell the whole story, but moments like this tend to clear up small doubts and differences, and prevent a new unity of purpose for in companies with mission-driven values.

Another point in OpenAI’s favor: while Altman is the star of the show, Brockman has also shown exceptional leadership and commitment throughout the ordeal, which should earn him more loyalty from OpenAI’s employee base. she Proudly tweeting about the company’s shipping product updates in the midst of everything that happened – even though he wasn’t technically an employee there – and he repeated that delivery commitment shortly after the news of the resolution broke.

If, as some think, the main reason for the split between the outgoing board and Altman was concerns over the speed of OpenAI’s progress toward the goal of AGI, then the board’s actions will have the exact opposite effect. that they intended. OpenAI is now being reshaped as a more integrated whole, with a clear focus on continuing Altman’s goals of ensconcing it as the leader of the emerging generative AI mega-industry.

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