OpenAI collectively commits suicide in front of Microsoft, blood flowing like a river.
OpenAI Group Tragically Ends Existence Before Microsoft, Blood Flowing Freely
Author: Hei Yang, Tao Ran, AI Blue Media
In 1997, at Apple’s developers conference, Steve Jobs, who had recently returned to the company, was still being questioned by many technicians.
A software engineer asked Jobs to explain the failure of the Java programming language and the Opendoc software, and in his eyes, Jobs was just a “computer salesman who doesn’t understand technology at all.”
Jobs replied: No one here understands “making mistakes” better than me. You can’t first gather a group of engineers and then force them to promote the technology you have in your hands.
Until the joint letter was made public last night, the technical board of OpenAI probably did not believe in this advice. But the company they are seeing is already heading towards a point of no return.
On the evening of November 20th, Beijing time, the power struggle between OpenAI and its former CEO, Sam Altman, the father of ChatGPT, continued to unfold after countless twists and turns: a open letter signed by over 500 OpenAI employees was exposed. In the letter, the employees threatened to collectively resign, demanding the current board of directors to step down and restore the positions of former CEO Altman and former Chairman Greg Brockman.
Otherwise, they will all quit and join Altman’s new team at Microsoft.
Image/OpenAI employees’ joint letter
Microsoft? This is yet another twist in the story. Just hours before this joint letter was sent, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella officially announced that Altman and Greg will join Microsoft to lead a new senior AI research team.
What does it mean for over 500 people to sign? OpenAI has a total of over 700 employees, and 500 people account for about 70% of them. This kind of direct ultimatum in a public setting has not been seen for a long time. The drama of “Where is ChatGPT’s Daddy Going” is still escalating.
If they can’t reach an agreement, the collective departure of these 500 OpenAI employees would mean that Microsoft, the next door neighbor, has first picked the father of ChatGPT and then picked up over half of OpenAI.
Even the old customers are fleeing. According to The Information, over 100 OpenAI customers have contacted its competitor, Anthropic, and this company also has its fair share of AI talent who have left OpenAI.
All of this started from the “suicidal decision” made by the OpenAI board of directors to expel Altman. This coincidence happened right in front of their partner, Microsoft.
The board of directors, shooting themselves in the foot
On November 16th, the founder of OpenAI suddenly “died.”
On that day, OpenAI announced that CEO Sam Altman and Chairman and President Greg Brockman had been dismissed by the board of directors.
This was such a big deal that the media swarmed in. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the OpenAI board of directors felt that AI development was progressing too fast and needed caution, but Altman thought there was nothing wrong, and after all, it was profitable to develop GPT-5. In the end, the board of directors had to resort to disciplinary actions – this is also the mainstream explanation for this current farce.
The successor to the CEO position, Emmett Shear, is actually a close friend of Altman.
After all, Sam Altman’s identity is too unique. He is the founder of OpenAI, the father of ChatGPT, and a member of a mysterious Silicon Valley organization called “effective altruism” (the stronger AI, the more awesome it is). He didn’t get along well with OpenAI’s chief scientist, Ilya, and the other three board members – the others believed that ChatGPT should be technologically limited, while Altman saw it as a product.
These accumulated differences became irreconcilable, and that’s when Altman was expelled from the board in a manner similar to self-exile.
Image/original OpenAI board, with Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, who were both dismissed, in the middle.
However, Altman’s true nature is now exposed – he is not a technical employee, but more like a legendary business genius, similar to Jobs, Gates, and others.
For example, in an article titled “Inside Story of ChatGPT” in Fortune magazine earlier this year, Sam Altman was described as “a serial entrepreneur in the technology industry, known more for his business acumen than his engineering feats. He is both the designer behind OpenAI’s skyrocketing valuation and the company’s CEO.”
Paul Graham, another programmer, venture capitalist, blogger, and tech writer, described Altman as “one of the five most interesting startup founders in the past 30 years,” and later said he was “like Bill Gates when he founded Microsoft … Naturally powerful and confident.”
This clever guy also has a Jobs-like silver tongue and is good at concealing all flaws.
In November 2022, Meta released Galactica, but the company took it down three days later because the robots couldn’t distinguish between truth and falsehood. After that, OpenAI released ChatGPT, which can also lie and have delusions. But Altman still released it and argued that this is a virtue. He said, “The world needs to gradually adapt to this, and we need to make decisions together.”
The whole world embraced this “virtue” with great enthusiasm. From skepticism to followership, that’s Altman’s power.
And, he also has a loyal following.
A day ago, Altman posted on X: “I love the OpenAI team so much.”
Within an hour of the post, hundreds of OpenAI employees rushed to like it, including interim CEO Mira Murati and COO Brad Lightcap.
It was originally thought to be a signal of Altman’s return to OpenAI, but it turned out to be a call for the team to move collectively.
As of now, several OpenAI employees, including former President Greg Brockman, have announced their resignation. It is not surprising that these employees who are leaving OpenAI with Sam Altman are likely to join Microsoft with him.
These top talents, which are scarce in the AI era, have flowed into Microsoft’s pocket for almost zero dollars. OpenAI suddenly lost its decision-makers and the iconic figure of the ChatGPT era, and is also about to lose a large number of employees who followed its lead.
What’s scarier than losing half of your life is losing your soul.
Image source: Internet
Microsoft “Resurrects” OpenAI
Like Altman, Microsoft’s Nadella is a businessman. He likes this clever ally.
Before Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI in 2022, OpenAI had a revenue of about $36 million, but in that year, they spent $544 million, resulting in a net loss of $500 million. With Microsoft’s arrival, there are reports that OpenAI’s revenue in 2023 is expected to reach $1.3 billion, which means monthly income exceeding $100 million.
So when the news of Altman joining Microsoft came out, not only did Microsoft’s stock price rise by 2.7%, it was also a seamless connection between the two.
Altman’s relationship with Microsoft can be traced back to 2019 when Altman, as the spokesperson for OpenAI, participated in numerous collaborations with the company. It can be imagined that Altman should have handled most of the affairs related to “money”.
Initially, OpenAI’s AI training was conducted on Google Cloud. Between 2019 and 2020, they paid $120 million in cloud computing fees to Google, making them one of the top five enterprise clients of Google Cloud for a while. In 2019, after receiving $1 billion investment from Microsoft, OpenAI gradually moved its services to Microsoft Cloud, and at the same time, their spending on cloud computing dropped to $52,000. In 2021 and 2022, cloud computing expenses did not exceed $100,000 for two consecutive years.
For the business, for Microsoft, this former spokesperson for OpenAI is definitely an old acquaintance.
And for Microsoft, the name “Sam Altman” is the soul of ACG, a true top-notch AI figure and the true pioneer of generative large models.
Since the emergence of ChatGPT, Sam Altman’s name has been deeply connected with this phenomenal product and is known as the “father of ChatGPT”. Microsoft has brought in a great Buddha with an irresistible price, and behind the Buddha, there are countless cyber devotees in the AGI field, which is equivalent to having Steve Jobs join Microsoft and create another iPhone.
Of course, the relationship between Microsoft and OpenAI is by no means a match made in heaven.
According to an internal Microsoft document from March of this year, to persuade customers to choose its own Azure OpenAI service, Microsoft allowed its salespeople to “sabotage” OpenAI, and at the same time, Meta made a major announcement of the open-source language model Llama 2, and Microsoft announced itself as Llama 2’s launch partner.
Microsoft has always needed its own OpenAI.
And now, while Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, tries to maintain the face of partnership and takes the stage at the OpenAI Developer Conference, he has to consult with his ministers on how to prevent the other party from overpowering them. Suddenly, OpenAI blows the whistle and kicks out Altman— a group of idealists who have destroyed their own castle walls.
Image/Core members of the board who expelled Altman OpenAI’s Chief Scientist, Ilya Sutskever, publicly expresses his “regret” and even signs the joint letter that led to the palace intrigue mentioned above.
In a recent update on social media, Altman posts three messages in a row: the OpenAI leadership team is excellent, he is proud of them, they will find a way to work together, and they are committed to providing comprehensive sustainable operations for their partners and clients. The OpenAI/Microsoft partnership makes this very feasible.
All the kind words make everything seem calm, so calm that Altman seems like an outsider to this farce.
Even Microsoft CEO Nadella didn’t expect the wheel of their AI journey to turn due to a self-destructive internal conflict of their partner, turning him from an investor in the ChatGPT era to a possible controlling shareholder.