Shakeup in Tech as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is Ousted
On Friday, Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, was unexpectedly removed from his position. The board of directors, which includes both non-profit and profit-driven divisions, cited Altman’s lack of transparency in his communication with the board as the reason for his termination. The termination announcement has left many speculating about the details behind Altman’s departure. OpenAI, known for developing artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT, the fastest app to reach a million users, is considered one of the most important startups in the world. The intersection of crypto and AI has been gaining traction, with predictions that AI will revolutionize app development, trading strategies, and user experiences. Worldcoin, a significant player in the crypto industry, is also connected to Altman through his involvement with Tools for Humanity, the company building a protocol for universal digital IDs. Initially, Worldcoin’s token value plummeted following Altman’s termination, but it has since rebounded after Microsoft appointed him to lead internal AI research and development. Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI is seen as a show of confidence in Altman’s capabilities. While OpenAI and Worldcoin are separate entities, they share similarities in their exploration of unproven technologies like AI and crypto-based universal basic income (UBI). Despite initial skepticism, these moonshot projects aim to propel humanity forward. Worldcoin, in particular, has faced criticism due to its dystopian associations, including its founder’s potential trillionaire status and the use of a metal sphere called the Orb to scan people’s irises for the World ID system. However, the project has garnered support from tech experts who are intrigued by its innovative approach to biometric scanning using zero-knowledge cryptography. Worldcoin’s CEO, Alex Blania, is also highly regarded within the industry. Evaluating Worldcoin based on its merits rather than its aesthetics is crucial. The project may prove to be an expensive mistake, but it is important to separate genuine concerns from mere “mood affiliation.” Altman’s reputation has grown significantly since becoming the face of OpenAI, despite being controversial. He is known as a skilled fundraiser and has been involved in various ventures, including Y Combinator, Loopt, and Reddit. Altman’s association with Worldcoin is of interest, but it is unlikely that he is heavily involved in the project. Other concerns, such as privacy issues raised by the Kenyan government and the proprietary nature of the Orb system, are more relevant. The tech industry is currently experiencing a transitional phase, with the “techlash” subsiding as AI gains recognition for its revolutionary potential. However, it is crucial to approach extraordinary claims with skepticism and subject them to scrutiny. Some technologists view Altman as a symbol of progress and have already aligned themselves with his camp, even before OpenAI’s internal review of his termination is complete. Worldcoin, in this context, can be seen as an imperfect gauge of the competing attitudes towards technology in society. Before forming any opinions about the Orb or investing in it, it is important to fully understand its capabilities.