Sam Altman is said to be discussing a return to OpenAI with the company’s board

OpenAI’s two top executives, Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, who left the company after a dramatic board meeting on Friday, are again talking to board members about returning to the artificial intelligence startup, two people familiar with the matter said.

38 year old Mr. The controversy followed Altman’s ouster as OpenAI’s chief executive. Since then, OpenAI’s investors and Mr. Altman’s backers have pressed the start-up’s board members to bring Mr. Altman back, six people familiar with the situation said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

Microsoft, which invested $13 billion in OpenAI, led the pressure campaign, one said. Mr. OpenAI investors who had expressed support for Altman’s reinstatement were willing to invest if he started a new company, which he began discussing soon after his ouster, people familiar with the situation said.

OpenAI Mr. Altman or Mr. There is no guarantee Brockman will be rehired, the people said. Because of OpenAI’s unique structure — it’s controlled by a nonprofit organization and its board has the power to manage the operations of its AI working subsidiary — the company’s investors have no official say in what happens to the start-up or to whom. leading it.

OpenAI, Microsoft and Thrive Capital declined to comment. on the edge OpenAI’s team has discussed the possibility of Mr. It previously said it was in talks with Altman.

Mr. Altman, Mr. The new discussions between Brockman and OpenAI’s team are the latest twist in a fast-moving drama at the world’s top AI company.

The San Francisco start-up gained notoriety last year when it released chatbot ChatGPD and showed off the power of artificial intelligence. OpenAI Founder Mr. Altman quickly became the face of the AI ​​industry, with Google, Meta and other giants at the forefront of the technology. But on Friday, OpenAI suddenly announced that its team, Mr. It announced that Altman had been removed as chief executive, saying he had “continued to be dishonest in his dealings with the board”. The board did not elaborate.

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At noon on Friday, Mr. Altman was asked, and promptly fired, Mr. Brockman has told. Mr. Brockman said that although he is the company’s board chairman, he did not participate in the meeting. Later he said that he was leaving the company.

Mr. Altman was forced and Mr. OpenAI had six board members before Brockman left. The other four are OpenAI founder Ilya Sutzkever; Adam D’Angelo, chief executive of Quora, the question-and-answer site; Helen Donner, director of strategy at the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technologies; and Tasha McCauley, an entrepreneur and computer scientist.

Mr. Before Altman’s ouster, tensions at OpenAI were rising as the company’s profile rose. In particular, respected AI researcher Mr. Schutzkever said OpenAI’s technology could be dangerous, and Mr. Altman didn’t pay enough attention to that risk, said three people familiar with his thinking. Mr. Sutzkever also objected to what he saw as a diminished role within the company.

Mr. Altman’s firing drew attention to a long-standing divide in the AI ​​community between those who believe AI is the biggest business opportunity in a generation and those who worry that moving too fast is dangerous.

The exit made waves in the tech industry, where Mr. Altman is well-known not only for OpenAI, but also for his years leading Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley start-up incubator. Many of OpenAI’s investors, including Microsoft, Thrive Capital and Sequoia Capital, Mr. He didn’t learn about Altman’s departure until a minute before he was announced or after the news became public.

By Friday evening, Mr. Altman and Mr. Brockman was racing to set up a new AI company, three people familiar with the situation said. They also considered which OpenAI employees would join them. At least three OpenAI employees have resigned in the past two days.

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Mr. Altman took a break to poke OpenAI’s board on social media, threatening to “go off” with a joke or being candid about the situation.

Technology investors and Mr. They were quick to show their support for Altman and indicated that they would support his next endeavor.

Alfred Lin, investor at Sequoia Capital, OpenAI and Mr. A venture capital firm that invested in Altman’s first start-up, Loopt, posted on X that Mr. Altman and Mr. Brockman will build. Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt posted, “I can’t wait to see what he does next.”

While promoting OpenAI, Mr. Altman has pitched several ideas for new projects to investors and others in recent months. During a fundraising trip to the Middle East last month, Mr. Altman talked about AI-related projects, including a plan to create custom chips for AI to compete with chip giant Nvidia.

Mr. Masayoshi Son, chief executive and billionaire founder of software giant SoftBank, discussed investing in an AI device venture with Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief design officer. Altman spoke.

But on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Altman and Mr. Brockman has been talking about returning with OpenAI.

Karen Weiss And Trip Mickle Contributed report.

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