As of this morning, the new board is in place and everything else at OpenAI is otherwise officially back to the way it was before. Events seem to have gone as expected. If you have read my previous two posts on the OpenAI situation, nothing here should surprise you.
Again, almost every women involved get the boot. Men men men men men.
Hard to imagine robots wouldn't do better.
The major question is - will the changes lead to it being more or less likely humanity survives?
A power struggled ensued, and Altman won. He is a master power broker, and this was identified by people like Paul Graham years ago when he was at Y-Combinator. It would be less scary if he wasn't the head of the world's most advanced AI company (that is publicly known at least).
He is a classic tech CEO looking to create products, but this is a different kind of tech, which in my view changes all the rules and the boundaries of what is acceptable. Unfortunately, Moloch reigns supreme, and the race to develop AGI or something like it will never be tempered by safety concerns because every company thinks "If we don't do it, X and Z companies/nations will, and then we will be behind forever".
substantive roll → substantive role
I wouldn’t take Sam Altman’s comments to the effect of “clearly the company can run just as well without me” as actually being evidence that the company can run just as well without him. That’s just the sort of polite thing you say to be nice to your team.
In particular nobody else is going to be as good at fundraising as Sam Altman, and fundraising is probably still an important part of OpenAI’s future plans.
He may be valuable for all sorts of other things internally, too, I don’t know. If I had to guess I would say he probably is. There’s a big difference between great startup CEOs and mediocre startup CEOs.
"If the board had not botched its execution and had more gravitas? I think things go differently."
Sounds like the board was Experiencing a Significant Gravitas Shortfall.
This is not directly relevant but I would like to mention my continued confusion at why otherwise smart and contrarian people have any respect for graham, who has always seemed to me to be the maximally generic empty suit in tech.
Your point about Paul Graham loving his kids is a brief comment, but I have often thought our chances for survival would go up if major AI companies were led by CxOs and Board members who had children. In lieu of that, monthly bring-your-kid-to-work-days? CxO talks at high schools and middle schools?
The concept of "future generations" moves from theory to practice when you have kids.
Thank you, Zvi. Your coverage on OpenAI recently tipped the scales for me and I became a paid subscriber.