Elon Musk says Altman's return to OpenAI is better than Microsoft deal

Elon Musk says CEO Sam Altman’s shock return to OpenAI is ‘probably better for the world than merging with Microsoft’ – after wading into turmoil by posting anonymous letter accusing tech boss of underhand behavior

  • X boss offers grudging welcome to Sam Altman’s dramatic reappointment as OpenAI boss just five days after he was fired 
  • But the world’s richest man, who is developing a rival AI system, demands an investigation into claims Altman used ‘fear and intimidation’ to betray the company’s principles in the pursuit of profit

Elon Musk kept the heat on his leading AI rival by demanding an investigation into claims of ‘deceit and manipulation’ against Sam Altman, as the OpenAI boss dramatically turned the tables on his enemies.

The X boss could only watch from the sidelines as his former colleague was first fired and then reinstated as CEO of the ChatGPT developer in the space of five days.

The world’s richest man, who is developing his own AI platform, feared that tech giant Microsoft had engineered the boardroom coup against Altman in a bid to gobble up their young competitor.

But it was the board that was fired as Altman returned to his job on Tuesday following a near mutiny by ChatGPT’s workers who threatened to walk out on mass if he was not reinstated.

‘OpenAI being (semi) independent is probably better for the world than merging with Microsoft,’ tweeted Musk in response, ‘less concentration of power.’

Elon Musk gave a grudging welcome to Altman’s dramatic reappointment as OpenAI boss after voicing fears that his upstart rival would be swallowed by tech giant Microsoft

OpenAI on Wednesday said that it has reached a shock agreement for Sam Altman to return to to the company as CEO just five days after firing him

But he opened another front in the Silicon Valley battle as he retweeted an anonymous letter allegedly from Altman’s former employees accusing him of using ‘fear and intimidation’ to betray the company’s original idealistic principles in the pursuit of profit.

The letter which has since been deleted, claimed a ‘disturbing pattern of deceit and manipulation by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, driven by their insatiable pursuit of achieving artificial general intelligence’.

Reposting the letter Musk wrote: ‘These seem like concerns worth investigating.’

Musk put OpenAI into business in 2015 when he invested $100million into the not for profit start-up and helped hire chief scientist Ilya Sutskever from Google.

But the Tesla boss walked away in 2018 after his bid to take a greater stake in the company was rejected, and began accusing it of selling out to Silicon Valley giants and ignoring the dangers posed by AI technology.

‘OpenAI was created as an open source (which is why I named it ‘Open’ AI), non-profit company to serve as a counterweight to Google, but now it has become a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft,’ Musk tweeted in February.

He has since attacked the company and says the AI is ‘woke’ and deviates from OpenAI’s original non-profit mission.

He even signed a letter calling for a pause on the ‘dangerous race’ to develop AI, which they fear poses a ‘profound risk to society and humanity’ and could have ‘catastrophic’ effects.

The X boss threw another firework when he highlighted an anonymous letter allegedly from former OpenAI staff accusing Altman of a presiding over a culture of ‘fear and intimidation’

Altman’s sacked co-founder Greg Brockman celebrated his own dramatic return to the company on Wednesday 

Founded by Altman and ten others in 2015, OpenAI rolled out ChatGPT a year ago – and its ability to mimic human writing has proved polarizing ever since 

In a series of interviews, insiders described how one of Altman’s cofounders had become concerned about OpenAI’s budding tech prior to the firing. Those concerns came as experts warned AI could result in a machine-run society, as it did in James Cameron’s Terminator series

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also welcomed the news of Altman’s return in a message on X 

But he could only grab the popcorn as the drama which gripped the industry unfolded over the weekend culminating with Altman’s reappointment on Tuesday night.

‘The ratings on the OpenAI Telenovela are off the hook,’ Must tweeted on Monday.

The AI firm had on Monday named ex-Twitch boss Emmett Shear as interim chief executive amid reports that they feared Altman was ignoring the dangers of AI technology and not being honest with his fellow board members.

Five days of turmoil at OpenAI 

Friday: Reports emerged that Sam Altman had been fired, leading the tech tycoon to comment on X that it was ‘sorta like reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive.’

Jakob Pachocki and fellow cofounder Greg Brockman, were seemingly taken aback by the firing and both quit in protest of the alleged ambush late Friday night.

Saturday: There were efforts from execs to bring him back and a leaked memo to staff suggested the company was ‘optimistic’ about his possible return.

Sunday: Reports swirled that he was open to returning if there was a change of board and governance at the company.

Altman then threw cold water on the rumors, posting a snap of himself using an OpenAI guest-pass while visiting his old employer on X, and wrote: ‘first and last time i ever wear one of these.’ 

Monday: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Altman and OAI co-founder Greg Brockman would be joining the company to lead a new AI innovation team.

Former Twitch leader Emmett Shear has taken over as OpenAI’s interim chief executive.

Tuesday: After days of turmoil, Altman announced on X that he is to return to OpenAI. 

The co-founder will join a new board that includes former US treasury secretary Larry Summers, former co-CEO of Salesforce Bret Taylor and Adam D’Angelo, the only holdover for the previous administration. 

Days earlier, D’Angelo voted to oust Altman. ‘I love OpenAI, and everything I’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together,’ Altman wrote on X.

His return saw one of the company’s founders, Illya Sutskever, as well as Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley leave.  

Altman ‘was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,’ they claimed.

Altman was immediately poached for a job by Microsoft boss Satya Nadella but the OpenAI board held ‘intense discussions’ after 95 percent of staff threatened to walk.

On Tuesday night it was announced Altman would return and be joined by a new initial board of former Twitter chair Bret Taylor, ex-US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers with board member Adam D’Angelo, who voted to oust Altman, the only holdover.

The other members who voted in favor of the firing, including one of the company’s founders, Illya Sutskever, as well as Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley, would leave the company instead along with interim CEO Emmett Shear.

Returning alongside Altman is another of the company’s founders, Greg Brockman. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sutskever was convinced to change his mind on Altman’s future with the company after an intervention from Brockman’s wife, Anna.

‘I love OpenAI and everything I’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together,’ Altman said in a post on X early Wednesday morning.

Altman thanked Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella for helping to make the stunning reversal happen.

‘When i decided to join [Microsoft] on Sunday evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. With the new board and with Satya’s support, I’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with [Microsoft].

In a statement of his own, Nadella credited the changes to the board in getting Altman back to OpenAI.

‘We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board,’ he wrote. ‘We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance.’

‘Sam, Greg, and I have talked and agreed they have a key role to play along with the OAI leadership team in ensuring OAI continues to thrive and build on its mission.’

‘We look forward to building on our strong partnership and delivering the value of this next generation of AI to our customers and partners.’

OpenAI posted it’s own statement on X to confirm the announcement.

‘We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo,’ they wrote.

‘We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.’

Dailymail.com has reached out to Musk, Altman and OpenAI for comment.  

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