• World
  • Nov 18

Who is Sam Altman?

• Sam Altman, the co-founder of OpenAI, which caused a sensation just a year ago with the introduction of ChatGPT, was removed as company’s CEO, sending shock waves across the tech industry.

• Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board of directors of OpenAI, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The board said it no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.

• Greg Brockman announced his resignation as president and co-founder of OpenAI hours after Altman was removed. 

• OpenAI’s Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati will serve as interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Murati, who has worked for Tesla, joined OpenAI in 2018 and later became CTO. She oversaw product launches including that of ChatGPT.

Who is Sam Altman?

• Born in 1985, Samuel Harris Altman grew up in a St. Louis suburb, where he got his first computer at the age of eight.

• Like so many tech figures before him, Altman dropped out of Stanford University to start a company, Loopt, which let smartphone users selectively share their whereabouts.

• Loopt was acquired in 2012 in a deal valued at $43.4 million — and Altman’s place in Silicon Valley was secured.

• In 2014, Altman became president of Y Combinator, an accelerator that provides startups with guidance and funding in exchange for stakes in the young companies. Altman expanded Y Combinator’s strategy for investing beyond software startups to biotech, energy, and other fields.

• In 2015, Altman joined Tesla chief Elon Musk and others in starting OpenAI, a research company with a stated goal of building generative AI that benefits humanity.

• OpenAI kicked off the generative AI craze in November 2022 by releasing ChatGPT. The chatbot became one of the world’s fastest-growing software applications.

• ChatGPT has captured the world’s imagination with its capacity to generate human-like conversations, writing and translations in seconds. But it has raised concern across many sectors, including in education, where some worry students will abuse the tool or turn to it rather than producing original work.

• An influential Silicon Valley presence for more than a decade, Sam Altman emerged as the tech titan of the AI age.

• Altman was the face of OpenAI and the wildly popular generative AI technology as he toured the world this year.

• He is credited with almost single-handedly convincing Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to commit $10 billion to the company.

• His aura also helped attract AI engineering talent in what may be the most competitive market seen in tech circles in years. 

• In addition to his efforts with OpenAI he started a cryptocurrency firm this year that scans people’s irises for verification.

• The full impact of OpenAI’s actions will unfold over time, but its fundraising prospects were an immediate concern. Altman was considered a master fundraiser who managed to negotiate billions of dollars in investment from Microsoft as well as having led the company’s tender offer transactions this year that fuelled OpenAI’s valuation from $29 billion to over $80 billion.

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