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highplainsdem

(48,471 posts)
Sun Nov 19, 2023, 06:48 PM Nov 2023

Sam Altman had been trying to raise billions for 2 new ventures of his own, undercutting OpenAI plans, when fired

From Bloomberg:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-11-19/altman-sought-billions-for-ai-chip-venture-before-openai-ouster#xj4y7vzkg
Archive page at https://archive.ph/MUm1F

In the weeks leading up to his shocking ouster from OpenAI, Sam Altman was actively working to raise billions from some of the world’s largest investors for a new chip venture, according to people familiar with the matter.

Altman had been traveling to the Middle East to fundraise for the project, which was code-named Tigris, the people said. The OpenAI chief executive officer planned to spin up an AI-focused chip company that could produce semiconductors that compete against those from Nvidia Corp., which currently dominates the market for artificial intelligence tasks. Altman’s chip venture is not yet formed and the talks with investors are in the early stages, said the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions were private.

Altman has also been looking to raise money for an AI-focused hardware device that he’s been developing in tandem with former Apple Inc. design chief Jony Ive. Altman has had talks about these ventures with SoftBank Group Corp., Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Mubadala Investment Company and others, as he sought tens of billions of dollars for these new companies, the people said.

-snip-

Altman’s fundraising efforts came at an important moment for the AI startup. OpenAI has been working to finalize a tender offer, led by Thrive Capital, that would let employees sell their shares at an $86 billion valuation. SoftBank and others had hoped to be part of this deal, one person said, but were put on a waitlist for a similar deal at a later date. In the interim, Altman urged investors to consider his new ventures, two people said.

-snip-



So he was basically undercutting OpenAI, the company he was then CEO of, and taking away employees' ability to sell their shares at that evaluation, while he tried to raise money for two new ventures of his own.

This comes after the news, just 4 weeks ago, that his Worldcoin company - which would have left him in control of the world's IDs and passwords after people had their eyes scanned for a Worldcoin ID (not at all megalomaniacal) - was in enough trouble that it was changing how it compensated employees and trying to keep that change from becoming news:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/100218392190


So with Worldcoin, his grandiose plan to gain immense power and wealth, NOT working out, he's trying to launch two new companies even if it means harming OpenAI and its employees.

And there's currently a good chance that Microsoft and other investors in OpenAI, who have no problem with this sleaziness, may put enough pressure on OpenAI's board that Altman will be invited back as CEO, with some of the people who opposed what he was doing forced to resign or losing power at the company in other ways.
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Sam Altman had been trying to raise billions for 2 new ventures of his own, undercutting OpenAI plans, when fired (Original Post) highplainsdem Nov 2023 OP
This message was self-deleted by its author usonian Nov 2023 #1
The author of that article sounds pretty pizzed..... getagrip_already Nov 2023 #2
I can't keep up. Take this info for what it's worth or not worth. usonian Nov 2023 #3
Thanks for posting this! highplainsdem Nov 2023 #4
So, who plays Sam Altman in the movie? SleeplessinSoCal Nov 2023 #5

Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

getagrip_already

(13,691 posts)
2. The author of that article sounds pretty pizzed.....
Sun Nov 19, 2023, 08:55 PM
Nov 2023

To the point that judgement may be a bit tainted.

It sounds personal, not at all professional.

Just sayin.

I am curious though. How is it the founder, ceo, and chairman of a company valued at close to $90B had no equity?

Did anyone?

usonian

(9,077 posts)
3. I can't keep up. Take this info for what it's worth or not worth.
Sun Nov 19, 2023, 10:09 PM
Nov 2023

Ran across a conspiracy theory of sorts:

https://austinenquirer.com/2023/why-was-sam-altman-fired-possible-ties-to-china-d2-double-dragon-data-from-hackers/
Why Was Sam Altman Fired? Possible Ties to China D2 (Double Dragon) Data from Hackers

Same info at Blind:
https://www.teamblind.com/post/I-know-why-Sam-Altman-was-fired-Fr5cQ6Ne
Hmmmmm.

And an article at the Atlantic
Archived: https://archive.md/PvbqA

Inside the Chaos at OpenAI

Skip to the end.

Through it all, Altman pressed onward. In the days before his firing, he was drumming up hype about OpenAI’s continued advances. The company had begun to work on GPT-5, he told the Financial Times, before alluding days later to something incredible in store at the APEC summit. “Just in the last couple of weeks, I have gotten to be in the room, when we sort of push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward,” he said. “Getting to do that is a professional honor of a lifetime.” According to reports, Altman was also looking to raise billions of dollars from Softbank and Middle Eastern investors to build a chip company to compete with Nvidia and other semiconductor manufacturers, as well as lower costs for OpenAI. In a year, Altman had helped transform OpenAI from a hybrid research company into a Silicon Valley tech company in full-growth mode.

In this context, it is easy to understand how tensions boiled over. OpenAI’s charter placed principle ahead of profit, shareholders, and any individual. The company was founded in part by the very contingent that Sutskever now represents—those fearful of AI’s potential, with beliefs at times seemingly rooted in the realm of science fiction—and that also makes up a portion of OpenAI’s current board. But Altman, too, positioned OpenAI’s commercial products and fundraising efforts as a means to the company’s ultimate goal. He told employees that the company’s models were still early enough in development that OpenAI ought to commercialize and generate enough revenue to ensure that it could spend without limits on alignment and safety concerns; ChatGPT is reportedly on pace to generate more than $1 billion a year.

Read one way, Altman’s firing can be seen as a stunning experiment in OpenAI’s unusual structure. It’s possible this experiment is now unraveling the company as we’ve known it, and shaking up the direction of AI along with it. Should Altman return to the company via pressure from investors and an outcry from current employees, the move would be a massive consolidation of power for Altman. It would suggest that, despite its charters and lofty credos, OpenAI may just be a traditional tech company after all.

Read differently, however, whether Altman stays or goes will do little to resolve a dangerous flaw present in the development of artificial intelligence. For the past 24 hours, the tech industry has held its breath, waiting to see the fate of Altman and OpenAI. Though Altman and others pay lip service to regulation and say they welcome the world’s feedback, this tumultuous weekend showed just how few people have a say in the progression of what might be the most consequential technology of our age. AI’s future is being determined by an ideological fight between wealthy techno-optimists, zealous doomers, and multibillion-dollar companies. The fate of OpenAI might hang in the balance, but the company’s conceit—the openness it is named after—showed its limits. The future, it seems, will be decided behind closed doors.


Latest:

https://www.theverge.com/2023/11/19/23968162/its-the-endgame-for-sam-altmans-potential-return-to-openai

NILAY PATEL
1:22 PM PST
It’s the endgame for Sam Altman’s potential return to OpenAI.Sam Altman is back in the building at OpenAI for the final stretch of negotiations for his potential return as CEO after being unceremoniously fired by the four-member board on Friday. A source close to Altman says he has once again set a 5PM PT deadline to resolve the situation, as he did yesterday — that big show of heart emoji support last night was meant to demonstrate how many people would leave for a new company with him.

One big condition of Altman’s return is that the existing board (who fired him!) has to step down. The existing board has to make some hard decisions about who will replace them, which appears to be the sticking point. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is reportedly mediating the discussion between Altman, former OpenAI president Greg Brockman, and the four current board members as they attempt to select a new board. We’re also told Microsoft would very much like to wrap this up before the stock market opens tomorrow morning. (Microsoft declined to comment; OpenAI’s communications team isn’t returning calls.)

Today’s 5PM deadline is meant to be a hard deadline, per the source close to Altman. If a deal isn’t reached, things will take “a different path,” we’re told, and extend through tomorrow and perhaps much longer.

highplainsdem

(48,471 posts)
4. Thanks for posting this!
Sun Nov 19, 2023, 10:14 PM
Nov 2023

I agree completely that too few people know what's really going on. And that too much affecting the future pf the world is being decided behind closed doors.

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