Sam Altman’s surprise move to Microsoft after his shock firing at OpenAI isn’t a done deal. He and co-founder Greg Brockman are still willing to return to OpenAI if the remaining board members who fired him step aside, multiple sources tell The Verge.
The promised mass exodus of virtually every OpenAI employee — including board member and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who led the initial move to depose Altman! — means that there is more pressure on the board than ever, with only two of the three remaining members needing to flip. Altman posted on X that “we are all going to work together some way or other,” which we are told is meant to indicate that the fight continues.
Whether he works at Microsoft, returns to OpenAI or pursues a third, unknown path, Altman’s power has only been concentrated by the events of the last week. As a result, he is likely to continue to help shape the direction of global AI governance.
ChatGPT’s success and Altman’s resultant celebrity gave him easy access to world leaders, making him the de facto ambassador for a version of “safe AI development” that suited his personal preferences as well as the financial interests of the company he led. The support he has received from Microsoft, big names in Silicon Valley and the more than 500 OpenAI employees who are calling for the board’s replacement and Altman’s reinstatement suggests that no matter where he works, Altman could become an even more dominant voice in the global conversation about AI development and risk.