The offer was swiftly declined.
In the scramble to find a new CEO after the ousting of former chief executive Sam Altman, OpenAI's non-profit board approached Dario Amodei, the CEO of its competitor Anthropic, with an offer to merge the two buzzy AI firms — and make Amodei CEO in the process, The Information reports.
Amodei seemed to have pretty swiftly declined the proposal and it's unclear if the offer actually led anywhere.
Regardless, the revelation is notable, considering the history between the two firms. Amodei served as OpenAI's VP of Research for roughly four years, leading the teams that built the predecessors to the firm's large language model GPT-4. But in late 2020, fearing that OpenAI had started prioritizing profits over safety, Amodei and several others exited the company, forming Anthropic in 2021.
"We were the safety and policy leadership of OpenAI," Daniela Amodei, the Anthropic CEO's sister and fellow former OpenAI staffer, recounted in an interview with The New York Times back in July, "and we just saw this vision for how we could train large language models and large generative models with safety at the forefront."
The report also bolsters rumors that Altman's expulsion from OpenAI resulted from rising internal tensions regarding OpenAI's aggressive commercialism. As the NYT has reported, one group within OpenAI — notably including OpenAI's chief scientist, Ilya Sutskever — felt that the company, under Altman's leadership, had once again started putting profits ahead of safety.
Bad to Worse
Amodei's declining of the offer isn't surprising. For one, Anthropic has done well enough on its own, receiving a hefty $300 million investment from Google back in February. Its signature chatbot Claude has also achieved some pretty impressive milestones.
Ultimately, though, Amodei's rejection likely comes down to the ideological schism that caused him to leave OpenAI in the first place. Anthropic considers itself an "AI safety and research company" above all else. Even if Altman's removal proves permanent, OpenAI has gone down what feels like an irretrievably commercial road — a road that Amodei and several others already chose not to go down.
Since Amodei declined the offer, the state of OpenAI's leadership has only gone from bad to worse. After its first interim CEO and former CTO Mira Murati stepped back to side with Altman — along with pretty much everyone else at OpenAI — OpenAI appointed former Twitch CEO and bizarre edgelord Emmett Shear to the role.
More on OpenAI's big breakup: Is OpenAI Melting Down Because It Secretly Created Something Really Scary?
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