OpenAI’s board may have been right to fire Sam Altman — and to rehire him, too

The alternative — a mass exodus of OpenAI’s top talent to Microsoft — would have been worse


The seismic shake-up at OpenAI — involving the firing and, ultimately, the reinstatement of CEO Sam Altman — came as a shock to almost everyone. But the truth is, the company was probably always going to reach a breaking point. It was built on a fault line so deep and unstable that eventually, stability would give way to chaos.

That fault line was OpenAI’s dual mission: to build AI that’s smarter than humanity, while also making sure that AI would be safe and beneficial to humanity. There’s an inherent tension between those goals because advanced AI could harm humans in a variety of ways, from entrenching bias to enabling bioterrorism. Now, the tension in OpenAI’s mandate appears to have helped precipitate the tech industry’s biggest earthquake in decades.

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