U-turn at OpenAI: Altman is back

Following a frenetic back-and-forth, Sam Altman is once again CEO of ChatGPT developer OpenAI after being sacked in a surprise move by the company’s board of directors last Friday. Shortly after his dismissal it was announced that he was switching to Microsoft. But apparently the threats of many OpenAI employees that they would quit unless Altman was reinstated had an impact. The press observes the circus with concern.

Cicero (DE) /

Irrationality in a rational industry

It’s as if the spirit of the 19th century had blown through Silicon Valley, Cicero writes:

“All data streams stand still if your strong arm wants them to! And at OpenAI of all places. ... But above all, this leadership battle, now settled, highlights the deep rift between ideology and reality: chaos, anarchy and irrationality clearly prevail in the deepest layers of the world’s supposedly most rational, because most (artificially) intelligent, industry. There is also something reassuring about this: even behind artificial intelligence, we now know, human impulses twitch and quiver.”

Ralf Hanselle
Libération (FR) /

Recklessness wins out

Unfortunately, profit takes precedence over concerns for humanity in the US capitalist model, Libération’s editor-in-chief Dov Alfon laments:

“The printing press, tractor, telephone, electricity, railway and many other key inventions also initially triggered alarmist predictions. However, the speed with which artificial intelligence is imposing itself in the economy, culture and society without any safeguards is unprecedented. ... Any real threat to humanity must be taken seriously. And yet, after a trial of strength which only US capitalism engages in with such utter shamelessness, the future profits of Microsoft and others have been prioritised over the reflection recommended by the board.”

Dov Alfon
The Economist (GB) /

Governments must set the boundaries

The Altman case highlights the need for government regulation of AI, The Economist stresses:

“Much about the board’s motives in sacking Mr Altman remains unknown. ... Nor is it entirely clear what qualifies a handful of private citizens to represent the interests of Earth’s remaining 7.9 bn inhabitants. ... Fortunately for humanity, there are bodies that have a much more convincing claim to represent its interests: elected governments. By drafting regulation, they can set the boundaries within which companies like OpenAI must operate. ... AI technology is too important to be left to the latest corporate intrigue.”