• Between last Friday and this Monday, artificial intelligence star Sam Altman, behind ChatGPT, had time to get fired from OpenAI, which he co-founded, and to be hired by Microsoft.
  • Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, both co-founders of OpenAI, "will be joining, along with other colleagues, Microsoft to lead a new AI research team," its boss, Satya Nadella, wrote on X.
  • Let's take a look back at three crazy days in Silicon Valley.

An earthquake has shaken Silicon Valley. Sam Altman, the OpenAI co-founder who has become the star of artificial intelligence since the launch of ChatGPT a year ago, was fired with immediate effect on Friday before being hired by Microsoft on Monday. A turn of events as unexpected as his dismissal, the reasons for which remain rather obscure. Officially, his board of directors reproached him for not always being "frank" with him. Let's take a look back at three days of rollercoaster ride by one of the leading figures in a high-stakes sector.

Friday: A surprise dismissal

A real coup de théâtre compared by some to the ouster of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, in 1985, despite being considered one of the most emblematic bosses in the sector. A star of Silicon Valley since the ChatGTP revolution, generative artificial intelligence, Sam Altman has been removed from his position as boss of OpenAI, effective immediately. "Sam Altman's departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he had not always been candid in his communications with the board, impeding his ability to fulfill his responsibilities," a statement said, noting that the board no longer has "confidence in his ability to lead OpenAI."

Saturday: France tries an action (out of the hat)

Instead of Silicon Valley, why not come to France instead? Oh yes, what? This was the somewhat wacky proposal of Jean-Noël Barrot, the Minister Delegate for Digital Affairs. "Sam Altman, his team and their talents are welcome if they wish in France where we are accelerating to put artificial intelligence at the service of the common good," the minister wrote on network X (formerly Twitter).

This invitation comes the day after an important announcement concerning the development of AI in France: two big bosses Xavier Niel (Iliad) and Rodolphe Saadé (CMA CGM) announced this Friday the creation in Paris of a laboratory called Kyutai and endowed with 300 million euros.

Sunday: Rumors of reinstatement at OpenAI

Anything to bring the little AI genius back to OpenAI. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Sunday, several investors, including Microsoft and venture capital firm Thrive Capital, were scrambling over the weekend to bring Sam Altman back. He was hesitating between returning to OpenAI with a new board of directors and a new governance structure or starting a new company with OpenAI alumni, including those who quit after his dismissal was announced. According to the WSJ, some of the company's top financiers, including Microsoft and venture capital firm Thrive Capital, are "making efforts to bring Sam Altman back."

Monday: Surprise hire at Microsoft

The second twist in this technological saga is that Sam Altman is finally hired by Microsoft. Satya Nadella, the boss of the IT giant that has invested billions of dollars in ChatGPT, announced that he was hiring him "to lead a new AI research team." Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, both co-founders of OpenAI, "will be joining, along with other colleagues, Microsoft to lead a new AI research team," its boss, Satya Nadella, wrote on X.

We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett...

— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 20, 2023

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Shortly after, Emmett Shear, co-founder of the video streaming platform Twitch which he ran until March, announced that he would become the new interim head of OpenAI, the star artificial intelligence start-up in chaos since the dismissal of its former boss. "I accepted this position because I believe OpenAI is one of the most important companies out there right now," he wrote in a post Monday morning on X.

  • Tech
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • OpenAI
  • ChatGPT
  • Microsoft
  • Jean-Noël Barrot
  • USA
  • Silicon Valley