OpenAI made a splash when it was founded in 2015, with the mission to build artificial general intelligence — AI algorithms that can perform any task humans can, but without bias or bias-related errors.
In its 5-year history of development, the company made numerous advances in technology, from its GPT-3 natural language processing model to its robotic hand. Recently, the company has experienced internal turmoil amidst the uncertainty of how it will transition from a non-profit to a for-profit AI venture.
The latest development to cause ripples of unrest among OpenAI’s staff is the announcement of former President and CEO Sam Altman joining Microsoft.
Altman had served as the head of OpenAI until January 2020, when he left to pursue a venture capital career. The company was then led by interim CEO Greg Brockman, who has now stepped down from his role and returned to the venture capital world.
The OpenAI staff were reportedly unhappy with Altman’s move to Microsoft, an organization OpenAI had regularly criticized for its lack of disclosure about its own AI technology. They took to social media to voice their concern, threatening to leave the organization en masse if his appointment wasn’t reversed.
It appears OpenAI has shied away from the public conflict, and accepted Altman’s appointment. The organization has made efforts to diffuse the situation, quelling some of the uprising among employees.
In the end, it appears that matters at OpenAI have been resolved and the company is once again turning its focus to its primary mission: developing AI with the aim of advancing the human condition. With its development of GPT-3, a natural language processing model that can write essays, compose poetry, and generate nearly human-like code, the company continues to demonstrate the potential for AI technology to have a profound impact on society.
Going forward, OpenAI will seek to build on this promise and make advancements in artificial general intelligence, despite the departure of its former leader. The company’s decision to remain true to its original mission, even in the face of disagreement and dissent among its own employees, is a testament to its commitment to technological progress.