OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a year ago, said Friday it had dismissed CEO Sam Altman in a sudden move, firing a central figure in the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution.
Altman, a 38-year-old tech sensation, released ChatGPT — an AI chatbot capable of producing human-level content and became Silicon Valley's newest star — travelling to meet with political leaders and audiences interested in AI's potential.
However, his sudden dismissal sparked rumours on social media, surprising the tech world.
OpenAI's board said in a statement that Altman's departure "follows a deliberative review process," which concluded "he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities".
"The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI," it concluded.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Altman said he "loved my time at OpenAI. It was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit."
He said he would have "more to say about what's next later."
ChatGPT's launch sparked an AI race among tech giants Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Meta.
Microsoft has invested billions in OpenAI and integrated its technology into Bing, while Google quickly launched its own AI offerings, including the chatbot Bard, despite Microsoft's billions in OpenAI investment, AFP reported.
Altman has testified before US Congress about AI and spoken with heads of state about the technology, as pressure ramps up to regulate against risks such as AI's potential use in bioweapons, misinformation and other threats.
The statement said the board was "grateful for Sam's many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward."
Altman would be replaced on an interim basis by Mira Murati, the company's chief technology officer, the statement said.
"We have a long-term partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we bring this next era of AI to our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.
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