OpenAI’s directors have been anything but open. What the hell happened?

  • November 23, 2023
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In the top company in the world’s most explosive industry, the boss was fired and rehired – and no one has said why

• OpenAI was ‘working on model so powerful it alarmed staff’

The OpenAI farce has moved at such speed in the past week that it is easy to forget that nobody has yet said in clear terms why Sam Altman – the returning chief executive and all-round genius, according to his vocal fanclub – was fired in the first place. Since we are constantly told, not least by Altman himself, that the worst outcome from the adoption of artificial general intelligence could be “lights out for all of us”, somebody needs to find a voice here.

If the old board judged, for example, that Altman was unfit for the job because he was taking OpenAI down a reckless path, lights-wise, there would plainly be an obligation to speak up. Or, if the fear is unfounded, the architects of the failed boardroom coup could do everybody a favour and say so. Saying nothing useful, especially when your previous stance has been that transparency and safety go hand in hand, is indefensible.

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