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Video of the Month — Sam Altman’s OpenAI DevDay Keynote — and How It May Have Helped Lead to His (Temporary) Firing

It’s been a busy (and now turbulent) month for OpenAI.

The private research and deployment company hosted a developer day event in its headquarters city of San Francisco on November 6th. At this event, which spun up a lot of hype and fear, several announcements were made. The newsy bullet points from the event included a preview version of the more powerful GPT-4 Turbo, updated GPT-3.5 Turbo, and the release of the Assistants API, which OpenAI said will serve as a “first step towards helping developers build no-code agent-like experiences within their own applications” like chatbots and assistants, among other changes and updates.

But it turns out that set of news may not have been the most impactful from OpenAI DevDay. On Friday, November 17, the former CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, was ousted in what appears to be an internally-driven move to remove him; and CTO Mira Murati was named the interim CEO. Open AI President Greg Brockman left shortly thereafter, with perhaps more news and departures to come.

The official announcement:

The story is still in development and more information is sure to fill in the missing details. But some pieces may already be falling into place, including the role Sam Altman at OpenAI Dev Day may have played.

In an Ars Technica story, “Sources told reporter Kara Swisher that OpenAI’s Dev Day event hosted November 6, with Sam (Altman) front and center in a keynote pushing consumer-like products was an “inflection moment of Altman pushing too far, too fast.”

But how does this company’s shake-up possibly affect gaming in any way, you may ask? OpenAI has been one of the leaders in the AI space — which has started shaping tools that game developers use and game play that players will experience — a process that is expected to quickly accelerate in the years to come. OpenAI is already involved in many aspects of game development, even buying game studio Global Illumination in August this year.

Check out Sam Altman’s keynote presentation which comprises the majority of this approximately 45-minute video from OpenAI’s DevDay. What do you think is present in Altman’s keynote that might compromise OpenAI’s stated mission to build toward an artificial general intelligence model that is not provide-driven and is safe and beneficial to all humanity? Could it have been pushing the Assistants API and ChatGPT store experiences and other announcements toward launch before dealing with a known ChatGPT exploit? Could the company have been tilting too hard toward growing profitability and expanding too fast?

Feel free to comment your thoughts!

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UPDATE (11/20/2023): In a fascinating update (and another tie to the games business), former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear was hired on as OpenAI’s new interim CEO after reinstatement efforts this weekend fell through. Meanwhile, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and other key folks from OpenAI have been hired on by Microsoft, a key OpenAI investor, to help lead their AI efforts. (timeline, for those interested in this still-unfolding drama).

UPDATE (11/25/2023): In yet another turn, Sam Altman is on his way back to run OpenAI with a new board. Maybe the OpenAI boardroom coup drama is finally over. Updated the article title to reflect the fast-changing outcome.


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