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18 November 2023

A Frantic Friday Massacre

Update: The Verge is reporting that Altman is in talks with the board to come back as CEO, is "ambivalent" about retuning without governing changes to the company.

Lmao. What an embarrassing fiasco this all is. It's not even Monday yet.

From Axios:

Sam Altman's firing as OpenAI CEO was not the result of "malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices" but rather a "breakdown in communications between Sam Altman and the board," per an internal memo from chief operating officer Brad Lightcap seen by Axios.

So why the spectacle? Why the melodramatic press release and thoughtless communication with investors? Why not wait for the markets to close? What was so pressing that forced such a clumsy public execution?

I will not shed a tear for Altman or Microsoft. I could give a shit about wealthy stakeholders, either. But the circumstances surrounding this Friday night massacre make the board's decision feel increasingly frantic and ill-advised.

Am I missing something? I'm nothing approaching an expert in any of this, so I'm likely neglecting some apparent considerations.

Or, perhaps, start-up board members tend to lean towards petulance.

I keep going back to the press release, where they sandwiched the firing between this statement:

OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity.

Big "if god is for us, who could be against us" vibes. Emphasis mine.

Whatever's going on, it feels icky. Historically, shadowy coups with populous justifications have a tendency not to benefit all of humanity.


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