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OpenAI Has ‘Full Confidence’ In CEO Sam Altman After Investigation, Reinstates Him To Board

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OpenAI has reinstated CEO Sam Altman to its board of directors and stated that it has “full confidence” in his leadership following the completion of an outside review into the company’s troubles.

The ChatGPT creator hired the law firm WilmerHale to investigate what caused the company to abruptly fire Altman in November, only to rehire him days later. After months of research, it discovered that Altman’s dismissal was a “consequence of a breakdown in the relationship and loss of trust” between him and the previous board, according to an OpenAI summary of the conclusions released Friday. The whole report still needs to be released.

OpenAI also announced that three women have joined its board of directors: Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellman, former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Nicole Seligman, former Sony general counsel; and Fidji Simo, CEO of Instacart.

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OpenAI Has ‘Full Confidence’ In CEO Sam Altman After Investigation, Reinstates Him To Board

The moves are an attempt by the San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup to demonstrate to investors and consumers that it is working to overcome the internal tensions that nearly wrecked it last year and made global headlines.

“I’m pleased this whole thing is over,” Altman told reporters Friday, adding that he has been dismayed to see “people with an agenda” releasing material to hurt the firm or its goal and “pit us against each other.” At the same time, he stated that he has learnt from the experience and apologized for a disagreement with a former board member that could have been handled “with more grace and care.”

In a parting shot, two board members who voted to remove Altman before being forced out themselves wished the incoming board well but emphasized the importance of accountability when developing technology “as potentially world-changing” as OpenAI.

“We hope the new board does its job in governing OpenAI and holding it accountable to its mission,” ex-board members Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley said in a joint statement. “As we told the investigators, deception, manipulation, and resistance to thorough oversight should be unacceptable.”

For over three months, OpenAI provided scant information about what prompted its then-board of directors to remove Altman on November 17. A declaration that day stated that Altman was “not consistently candid in his communications” in a way that hampered the board’s ability to carry out its duties. He was also removed from the board, along with its chairman, Greg Brockman, who resigned as the company’s president.

Much of OpenAI’s disagreements have stemmed from its unconventional governance structure. Founded as a nonprofit to securely develop futuristic AI to benefit humanity, it is today a fast-growing major business run by a nonprofit board dedicated to its original mission.

The investigation determined that the preceding board operated within its authority. However, it also concluded that Altman’s “conduct did not mandate removal,” according to OpenAI. It stated that Altman and Brockman remained the appropriate leaders for the company.

“The review concluded there was a significant breakdown in trust between the prior board and Sam and Greg,” the board’s chair, Bret Taylor, told reporters on Friday. “And similarly concluded that the board acted in good faith, that the board believed at the time that its actions would mitigate some of the challenges that it perceived and didn’t anticipate some of the instability.”

The founders and leaders of OpenAI have long debated the threats posed by stronger AI systems. However, citing the law firm’s conclusions, Taylor stated that Altman’s firing “did not arise out of concerns regarding product safety or security.”

Taylor stated that it was not about OpenAI’s money or representations made to investors, customers, or business partners.

altman

OpenAI Has ‘Full Confidence’ In CEO Sam Altman After Investigation, Reinstates Him To Board

Days after his surprise dismissal, Altman and his supporters, with support from the majority of OpenAI’s workforce and close business partner Microsoft, orchestrated a comeback that returned Altman and Brockman to executive positions while forcing out board members Toner, a Georgetown University researcher; McCauley, a scientist at RAND Corporation; and another co-founder, Ilya Sutskever. Sutskever retained his position as chief scientist and publicly regretted his involvement in dismissing Altman.

“I think Ilya loves OpenAI,” Altman said Friday, expressing hope that they will continue to collaborate. However, he declined to comment on Sutskever’s present status at the business.

When Altman and Brockman returned to the company in November, they were not reinstated on the board. However, an “initial” new board of three men was constituted, led by Taylor, a former Salesforce and Facebook executive who previously chaired Twitter’s board before Elon Musk took over. Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, the sole remaining member of the previous board, are the others.

(Quora and Taylor’s new business, Sierra, has AI chatbots that use OpenAI technology.)

After hiring the law firm in December, OpenAI stated that WilmerHale interviewed dozens of the company’s previous board members, current executives, advisers, and other witnesses. The corporation also stated that the law firm examined thousands of documents and other corporate acts. WilmerHale did not immediately reply to a response request on Friday.

The board also announced that it will make “improvements” to the company’s governance structure. It stated that it would implement new corporate governance principles, enhance the company’s procedures against conflicts of interest, establish a whistleblower hotline that would allow workers and contractors to submit anonymous reports, and form more board committees.

The company still faces difficulties, such as a lawsuit Musk filed against it. Musk co-chaired OpenAI’s board after its founding in 2015 and contributed to funding its early years. Musk claims that the corporation is abandoning its founding objective of chasing profits.

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OpenAI Has ‘Full Confidence’ In CEO Sam Altman After Investigation, Reinstates Him To Board

Legal experts have doubt that Musk’s arguments, which rely on an alleged breach of contract, will hold up in court.

However, it has already sparked internal debate within the company about its unusual governance structure, how “open” it should be about its research, and how to pursue what is known as artificial general intelligence, or AI systems that can perform as well as — or better than — humans in a wide range of tasks.

Taylor said Friday that OpenAI’s “mission-driven nonprofit” structure will remain unchanged as it pursues its aim of artificial general intelligence that benefits “all of humanity.”

“Our duties are to the mission, first and foremost, but the company — this amazing company that we’re in right now — was created to serve that mission,” said Taylor.

source – (ap)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Boeing Whistleblower Died By Suicide, Police Investigation Reveals

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Boeing whistleblower John Barnett committed suicide, according to a police report released on Friday, bringing an investigation into the shocking death of a longtime employee who raised concerns about the airplane manufacturer’s safety and production standards – and who sued the company, alleging illegal retaliation against him.

Barnett, 62, was discovered dead in a vehicle on March 9 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Charleston, South Carolina. Officers were summoned to perform a welfare check on Barnett at a Holiday Inn after he failed to appear for a deposition in his complaint against Boeing, according to his lawyers and a police incident report.

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AP – VOR news Image

Boeing Whistleblower Died By Suicide, Police Investigation Reveals

When responding officers arrived, they discovered Barnett deceased in the driver’s seat of a truck in the parking lot. He was clutching a firearm. The initial police report also stated a message in the truck.

However, in a statement released after his death, Barnett’s lawyers stated that his deposition was nearing completion and that he appeared to be in high spirits.

“We saw no sign that he would commit suicide. “No one can believe it,” his attorneys, Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles, stated in a statement on March 12. “The Charleston police need to investigate this fully and accurately and tell the public what they find out.”

The Charleston Police Department announced Friday that the Charleston County Coroner’s Office had decided that Barnett had committed suicide.

The inquiry revealed that Barnett was shot in the head at close range, with the firearm located in his right hand. A notebook was also discovered in the front seat of the car, indicating that “he was going through a period of serious personal distress,” according to a police press statement.

Police provided CNN with a photograph of a note left in the car, which had several nasty statements addressed at Boeing.

“As this investigation comes to a close, we should not forget it represents the loss of Mr. Barnett’s life,” police stated. “We extend our deepest sympathies to his family during this difficult time and hope they continue to find the strength to persevere in absence.”

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Reuters – VOR News Image

Boeing Whistleblower Died By Suicide, Police Investigation Reveals

Boeing did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In March, the firm expressed its sadness at Barnett’s death.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends,” the business stated.

Barnett, a former quality manager who had worked at Boeing for decades, told the New York Times in 2019 that he had uncovered dangerous wiring clusters in Boeing’s manufacturing procedures that could have resulted in an aircraft’s catastrophic failure if severed by surrounding metal slivers.

“As a quality manager at Boeing, you’re the last line of defense before a defect makes it out to the flying public,” Barnett told the New York Times. “And I haven’t seen a plane out of Charleston yet that I’d put my name on saying it’s safe and airworthy.”

In a message issued to the facility’s employees and sent to CNN at the time, Brad Zaback, a site leader at the plant and general manager of the 787 program, stated that the Times’ coverage “paints a skewed and inaccurate picture of the program and of our team (at the plant).”

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boeing – VOR News Image

Boeing Whistleblower Died By Suicide, Police Investigation Reveals

Zaback, who said the Times denied an invitation to tour the company, stated that “quality is the bedrock of who we are” and that the plant produces “the highest-quality airplanes.”

Since Barnett’s original public warnings about Boeing, the corporation has had multiple high-profile safety and quality issues, including the explosion of a door stopper on a 737 Max shortly after takeoff last January. This prompted the US Justice Department to announce that Boeing could face criminal charges for its history of safety issues.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

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For the nation’s bicycle stores, the last several years have certainly felt like the business version of the Tour de France, with innumerable twists and turns testing their stamina.

Early in the pandemic, a surge in interest in cycling drove sales up 64% to $5.4 billion in 2020, according to Circana, the retail tracking firm. It wasn’t uncommon for some stores to sell 100 or more bikes in a few days.

The boom did not last. Due to pandemic-related supply chain challenges, the retailers sold out of bikes and struggled to replenish. Inventory has caught up, but fewer people require new bicycles. Bicycle manufacturers have started lowering prices to clear off excess inventory. It all adds up to a challenging climate for retailers, with a few bright areas such as dirt and e-bikes.

“The industry had a hard time keeping up with demand for a couple of years, but then demand slowed as the lockdowns ended, and a lot of inventory started showing up,” said Stephen Frothingham, editor-in-chief of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. “So now for the last, a year and a half, the industry has struggled with having too much inventory, at the supplier level, at the factory level, at the distributor level, at the retail level.”

Circana reports that bike sales will reach $4.1 billion in 2023, up 23% from 2019 but down 24% from 2020. The recovery from the epidemic has been uneven, with large businesses such as REI and Scheels recovering faster than independent bike shops, according to Matt Tucker, director of client development for Circana’s sports equipment business.

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Pixa Bay – VOR News Image

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

John McDonell, owner of Market Street Cycles on San Francisco’s famed Market Street, says the pandemic’s shift to hybrid labor has been especially difficult for business. During the summer, 3,000 bikes would pass by his shop each day. With fewer individuals commuting to work, that number has dropped to less than 1,000.

According to Pacer.ai, which tracks people’s activities based on smartphone usage, San Francisco falls behind all other major cities regarding workers returning to work, with office visits down 49% from April 2019.

“Our downtown is still a wasteland,” McDonell explained.

Independent bike stores now compete not only with national chains but also with bike manufacturers such as Specialized and Trek. These companies have been buying bike shops and selling their bikes directly to customers, thus eliminating the middleman. According to Frothingham, there are now over 1,000 bike shops in the country that are either owned by Trek or Specialized.

“They’ve got the money to absorb the fact that bike stores, you know, are not a super profitable thing, and in the process, they’ve also been able to cut us out of it,” McDonell stated.

McDonell has been obliged to use a skeleton team of himself and another employee, down from five earlier. His desire to sell his shop to a younger bike enthusiast when he retires is diminishing. He might close his store when his lease expires in a few years.

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Pixa Bay – VOR News Image

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“Now I am just trying to land it with both engines on fire and trying not to lose money on my way out,” he stated

Douglas Emerson’s bike business, University Bicycles, in Boulder, Colorado, is doing better, thanks to its placement in one of the country’s most popular biking destinations. He’s owned the shop for 39 years and employs 30 people.

University Bicycles, like other bike retailers, experienced a surge in bike sales due to the pandemic. Emerson recalls selling 107 bicycles in 48 hours. However, immediately following the boom, sales fell considerably due to a lack of inventory, and rentals declined because no one was traveling.

“It became a struggle right after the boom,” Emerson explained. “Since then, manufacturers have overproduced.” In addition, they have significantly reduced prices, which benefits consumers. However, tiny retailers generally cannot take advantage of those discounts.”

Emerson claims the shop hit a “saturation point” when everyone who wanted a bike purchased one. He now sells these consumer items such as jackets, helmets, and locks. His store has returned to its 2019 sales figures.

University Bicycles has also benefited from some of the changes in purchasing trends. The continued strong demand for e-bikes and the increased need for children’s bikes have contributed. Gravel bikes, which can be ridden on both paved and dirt routes, are displacing road cycles as a top seller.

John Ruger, a 50-year biker and faithful University Bicycles client, hasn’t purchased a bike in ten years but intends to buy a gravel bike at present costs. He says a top gravel bike he’s interested in, which would normally cost $12,000 to $14,000, is presently on sale for $8,000.

bike

Pixa Bay – VOR News Image

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“The timing is good,” he remarked. “I can get a bike now because they’re less expensive and my bikes are getting old.”

Shawna Williams, the owner of Free Range Cycles in Seattle, Washington, did not see the same sales boom as others because her 700-square-foot business was so small that she only accepted customers by appointment from March 2020 to May 2021.

However, Williams did have to deal with the coming shortages. She spent a great deal of time “checking in with other shops to see if we could buy something, even at retail, from them, just in order to get a repair done or a build done.”

She expanded her service offerings, such as repairs and maintenance, to compensate for decreasing bike sales. Despite the epidemic, the maneuvering allowed her to maintain consistent overall sales.

“Bike sales, the way that I have kind of framed the shop, are an awesome bonus, but we really need to be sustaining the shop through repair and, like, thoughtful accessory sales,” Williams stated. “A bike sale to me, if we do things well, that means creating a customer for life.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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OpenAI, Reddit Teaming In Deal That Will Bring Reddit’s Content To ChatGPT

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OpenAI and Reddit have partnered to deliver the social media platform’s content to ChatGPT.

Reddit’s share price increased by more than 10% before the market opened on Friday.

Reddit stated in a blog post that the partnership will grant OpenAI access to its data application programming interface, which provides real-time, structured, and unique content from the platform.

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OpenAI, Reddit Teaming In Deal That Will Bring Reddit’s Content To ChatGPT

Reddit users and moderators will also have access to new artificial intelligence-powered services, and OpenAI will be a Reddit advertising partner.

“Reddit has become one of the internet’s largest open archives of authentic, relevant, and always up-to-date human conversations about anything and everything,” co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman stated. “Including it in ChatGPT upholds our belief in a connected internet, helps people find more of what they’re looking for, and helps new audiences find community on Reddit.”

Reddit stated that the agreement is consistent with prior content arrangements and does not modify its data API or developer rules. These rules state that content obtained via Reddit’s data API cannot be utilized for commercial reasons without the platform’s approval.

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OpenAI, Reddit Teaming In Deal That Will Bring Reddit’s Content To ChatGPT

Reddit says API access remains free for non-commercial use under the published level.

“We are thrilled to partner with Reddit to enhance ChatGPT with uniquely timely and relevant information, as well as to explore the possibilities of enriching the Reddit experience with AI-powered features,” Brad Lightcap, OpenAI’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Reddit made its Wall Street debut in March, with investors driving the company’s worth to nearly $9 billion seconds after it started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

reddit

AP – VOR news Image

OpenAI, Reddit Teaming In Deal That Will Bring Reddit’s Content To ChatGPT

Reddit has a sizable audience that visits the site regularly to debate a wide range of topics, from stupid memes to existential concerns, and receive suggestions from like-minded individuals.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman invested in Reddit early on, becoming one of the company’s largest owners.

SOURCE – (AP)

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