How OpenAI’s turmoil could impact banking’s use of generative AI

In just one year since its public debut, ChatGPT ignited a revolution in conversational AI that promised to reshape retail banking engagement. How does the ongoing disruption at OpenAI and potential management changes at Microsoft alter the outlook for this AI technology in the future?

On Nov. 17, the OpenAI board shocked the tech world by announcing that Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO, had been fired.

In an ever-evolving story, Greg Brockman, OpenAI president, decided to follow Sam Altman the same day, with both Altman and Brockman in the process of joining Microsoft to lead AI efforts. At the same time, a vast majority (90%) of OpenAI’s staff have reportedly signed a letter threatening to quit and join Altman and Brockman at Microsoft if the OpenAI board didn’t reinstate Altman.

Recent indications are that OpenAI executives plan to continue discussions with ousted Altman about the potential of rejoining the startup’s board. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he’d be open to the idea of Altman rejoining OpenAI, according to an interview with CNBC on Monday, but also indicated a desire for a change of the OpenAI board.

Microsoft, which had invested $10 billion in OpenAI in January of 2023 could benefit the most from this disruption, whether they retain OpenAI’s leadership and supporting technologists, or if they simply gain more control over the future of OpenAI. Some predict that, in the end, the OpenAI board will be restructured, Altman and Brockman will be back at OpenAI with a refocus on growth (and ethics/safety), and with an even stronger partnership with Microsoft.


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