Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

After a turbulent last week during which he faced an ‘existential struggle’ for control of OpenAI, the company credited with making AI technology mainstream, Sam Altman has been named the CEO of The Year 2023 by Time Magazine.
The magazine publishes an annual issue where it names a person, group, idea, or object that “has done the most to influence the events of the year”.
Altman was a prominent figure in Silicon Valley but his name became common after he launched ChatGPT and toured the world talking about the next-generation technology that is touted to change the tech industry.
Co-founded OpenAI in 2015
Altman and a bunch of other executives co-founded the company in 2015 with a mission “to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by the need to generate financial return.” He also witnessed Elon Musk quit the company after he failed to install himself as the CEO.
OpenAI creates GPT models
In April 2018, he ensured the company would enable AI that is not a threat to humanity, and two months later the company built and released the code of the GPT-1 language model. About 8 months later, in February 2018, OpenAI announced GPT-2 under his leadership but didn’t release it to the masses, citing the risk of malicious use.
In March of the same year, OpenAI announced it was creating a for-profit entity to raise money to scale the work OpenAI is doing. June 2018 saw the dawn of iterative deployment when OpenAI made the GPT-3 model available for a group to take feedback on how its models can be used and abused.
Soon, Microsoft came calling and announced a $1 billion investment in OpenAI. The company started working with Microsoft to scale operations and fine-tune models. Recently, a report said that Microsoft’s investment also included making a supercomputer for the company.
ChatGPT takes the world by storm
Sam Altman’s ‘magic moment’ came in November 2022 when the company launched GPT-3.5 for the general public and it became the fastest-growing consumer app in history. He also spent last year telling the public that AI will take away some jobs but assured that it will open up more avenues and job opportunities.
In March 2023, OpenAI launched GPT-4, a powerful and more capable model than GPT-3.5 and Microsoft announced that it is incorporating the model in its products.
OpenAI sacks Altman
Fast forward to November 17, Altman is fired as CEO of the company, sending shockwaves in the industry despite Altman steering a startup into a multi-billion dollar company. By this time, Altman became a ‘hot property’ and Microsoft was quick to offer him a seat at the company as CEO of a new team.
About 10 days after his sacking, Altman was reinstated as the CEO of the company he co-founded. He got the backing of more than 500 of the company’s employees, including CFO Mira Murati. A new board of directors is established.

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