OpenAI in turmoil: Altman's leadership, trust issues and new opportunities for Google and Anthropic — 4 key takeaways 

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In a special video podcast, VB editorial director Michael Nunez and I discuss the takeaways from the OpenAI debacle of the last 5 days.

What does it all mean for enterprise technical decision makers? Click on the video link above to get the full take, but here’s the summary:

As much as the announcement last night provided the appearance of a restoration of the company under Sam Altman’s leadership, the fallout has caused significant self-inflicted wounds, and many unanswered questions remain.

Trust: For one, there are big trust issues circling around Sam Altman and his leadership as a result of his actions, that included among other things his criticism of the board member, Helen Toner, who was concerned about AI safety. She had praised the conduct of a competitor, Anthropic, in an October academic paper she wrote, for being more safety-first than OpenAI. Her paper, which provided thoughtful detail, appeared consistent with her duty and role, given that her primary mandate as a board member was to pursue safe AI. That and several other events had caused the board, including co-founder Ilya Sutskever, to turn against Altman in frustration. Now the board must be rebuilt with both diversity and strong mandate to standup to Altman.

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Not a serious enterprise player?: Second: OpenAI, as newly constituted, seems poised to focus mostly on growth of a consumer-oriented LLM product, popular among developers, but potentially not as safe for the enterprise as previously conceived.

Winners and losers: There are several winners from this week’s events. In his remarks, Nunez covers the boost the OpenAI fallout has provided for open source LLM products like Llama, now that many developers have given them a second look – and found them promising. Players like Anthropic and Google also have a big opening to gain momentum at OpenAI’s expense. OpenAI is the loser.

Governance structure: Finally there are big questions around OpenAI’s complicated governance structure and whether it will be able to sort these out.

Whatever happens, this promises to be a roller coaster ride for OpenAI for the foreseeable future, and one that VentureBeat will continue to cover closely.

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