Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, said on Monday that the way OpenAI is managed needs to be changed. This comes three days after CEO Sam Altman was unexpectedly fired.
Nadella mentioned, “It’s very clear that something has to change around the governance at this point.” He also stated that Microsoft would discuss this with OpenAI’s board.
During his first interview after Altman’s removal, Nadella assured that the important artificial intelligence research at OpenAI is still ongoing, and the partnership with Microsoft continues. However, he didn’t provide clarity on where Altman and fellow OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman, who was the company’s chairman, will ultimately end up.
OpenAI Leadership Transition and Microsoft’s Role
On Monday morning, Nadella mentioned that Altman, Brockman, and their team would become part of a new AI research group at Microsoft. However, as the day progressed, it became less certain that Altman and Brockman were indeed going to join Microsoft.
In response to this uncertainty, hundreds of OpenAI employees signed a letter to the company’s board, urging them to resign. The letter also suggested that if the board didn’t step down, the employees might decide to leave OpenAI and join their former colleagues at Microsoft.
Nadella stated that it’s up to OpenAI employees to decide if they want to remain in their current positions or transition to Microsoft. He mentioned that Microsoft has the resources to continue innovating independently and expressed openness to both possibilities.
The potential reinstatement of Altman gained momentum on Saturday when it was revealed that influential investors, including Microsoft, Tiger Global, Thrive Capital, and Sequoia Capital, were working to overturn the board’s decision made a day earlier. Notably, none of these firms held board seats, and they were taken by surprise with the initial decision.
Altman’s Feeling and Microsoft Commitment to Safe AI Development
Altman wrote his affection for the OpenAI team in a post on X late Saturday night, stating, “I love the OpenAI team so much.” Brockman, who resigned from the company after being removed as chairman alongside Altman’s dismissal, shared the comment with a heart symbol, and other OpenAI employees followed suit.
Nadella told Fortt that Microsoft respects OpenAI’s nonprofit roots and shares its belief that AI needs to be developed and rolled out in a safe manner.
“We want to make sure that we’re dealing with not only the benefits of technology, but the unintended consequences of the technology from day one, as opposed to waiting for things to happen,” Nadella said.
After OpenAI’s leadership changes, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, said the need for governance adjustments. While ensuring ongoing AI research collaboration, he remains open to various outcomes. Employee concerns and investor interventions have added complexity to the situation. Clarity on the future of Altman and Brockman is still awaited. Nadella highlighted Microsoft’s commitment to safe AI development.