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OpenAI executives are in talks with Sam Altman to allow him to return to the board, four days after their decision to fire him plunged the generative artificial intelligence startup into turmoil.
A deal to unify the company by reinstating its former chief executive alongside the remaining directors would be a compromise for both parties. More than 95 percent of OpenAI employees signed a letter this week calling on the board to resign and reinstate Altman, while a trio of holdout directors remained determined that his firing was justified.
This option, first reported by Bloomberg, is one of several options discussed by the nonprofit board that ultimately controls OpenAI, which spectacularly removed Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman from their positions. directors last week, according to people with direct knowledge of the negotiations. After being removed as chairman of the board, Brockman left the company on Friday.
The company’s staff — led by executives Mira Murati, Brad Lightcap and Jason Wong — stood by the co-founders and pressed the board for more detailed answers about why Altman was fired. But as of Tuesday afternoon, the parties had not reached an agreement on the company’s future.
The departures of Altman and Brockman set off a chaotic few days at OpenAI, which has become Silicon Valley’s most famous startup since launching its chatbot ChatGPT a year ago, sparking an AI boom generative.
Ilya Sutskever, a third co-founder, was one of four directors who voted to oust Altman. Under growing pressure from colleagues, Sutskever signed the letter calling on the board to reverse course and apologized on social media Monday.
“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions,” he wrote on X: “I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we have built together and will do everything I can to bring the company together. Sutskever did not say whether he would step down from the board.
That left three directors opposed to Altman’s return: Adam D’Angelo, general manager of the question-and-answer service Quora; tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley; and Helen Toner of the Center for Security and Emerging Technologies at Georgetown University.
The trio is under increasing pressure from employees and investors at OpenAI’s for-profit entity to explain their decision and change course.
Before Altman’s firing, questions had been raised internally about whether the pace of AI development at the company was safe and about potential conflicts with the 38-year-old entrepreneur’s side projects, which range from cryptocurrency to nuclear fission. The board had also lost confidence in Altman, according to a person with knowledge of their thinking.
But the company’s investors say they were not informed of the precise reasons for his dismissal.
Emmett Shear, co-founder of video streaming service Twitch whom the board named interim CEO on Sunday, also called for an independent investigation into how the decision was made to oust Altman and vowed to reform the management of the company. .