In a surprising move, OpenAI today abruptly fired Sam Altman, its CEO and a member of its board of directors, and installed CTO Mira Murati as interim CEO. But who, exactly, is Mira Murati?
Murati, who has a degree in mechanical engineering from Dartmouth College, previously worked as an intern at Goldman Sachs and then at Zodiac Aerospace, the French aerospace group. He spent three years at Tesla as senior product manager of the Model X, the automaker’s crossover SUV, where Tesla released the first versions of Autopilot, the AI-enabled driver-assistance software.
In 2016, Murati joined Leap Motion, a startup building hand-and finger-tracking motion sensors for PCs, as VP of product and engineering. Murati wanted to make the experience of interacting with a computer “as intuitive as playing ball,” he SPOKE Fast Company in an interview. But he soon realized that the technology, which relies on a VR headset, was too early.
In 2018, Murati joined OpenAI as VP of applied AI and partnerships. After being promoted to CTO in 2022, he led the company’s work on the viral AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT, the text-to-image AI DALL-E and the code-generating system Codex, which powered the product of Copilot on GitHub.
So what kind of interim CEO is Murati? Perhaps he will choose not to rock the boat while OpenAI’s board of directors looks for a permanent replacement. But from what Murati said in interviews, it’s clear that he sees multimodal models – ie models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 with Vision, which can understand the context of images as well as text – as the future of the company and one of the most promising. paths to ultra-capable AI. In addition, Murati appears to strongly believe in testing this type of AI in the open to work out bugs and discover potential novel use cases.
“One of the reasons we want to pursue DALL-E is to get a stronger understanding of the world, to understand these models of the world the way we do,” Murati told Fast Company. “You put technology in contact with reality; you see how people use it, what the limitations are; you learn from that; and you can put it back to the advancement of technology. Another dimension is that you can see how much (the technology) moves the needle in solving real world problems or if it is new.
Murati’s energy projection, for what it’s worth. During a company-wide meeting on Friday, he IS reported told OpenAI employees that Satya Nadella and Kevin Scott – CEO and CTO, respectively, of Microsoft, one of OpenAI’s biggest supporters – have “the utmost confidence” in OpenAI’s direction. And he reiterated that OpenAI has begun the search for a new CEO.