OpenAI is Leading Us Down a Path to a Point of No Return — Do We Get a Say In It?

Amanda Claypool
9 min readNov 27, 2023
Photo by Tungsten Rising on Unsplash

The world of artificial intelligence has officially crossed a point of no return.

In a shocking announcement that took the internet by storm, OpenAI ousted its beloved CEO and AI visionary, Sam Altman. In the weekend that followed, Microsoft — one of OpenAI’s largest investors — launched a deft PR campaign to offer Altman space to continue his work, preventing share prices from collapsing when the market opened Monday morning. Meanwhile, 90% of OpenAI’s employees threatened to leave the company in solidarity with their ousted leader.

Under tremendous pressure, OpenAI reversed course just five days later. Altman is CEO again and the board has been completely reshuffled. But that doesn’t mean that things are magically back to normal.

At the time that all of this was transpiring, no one really knew what had happened to lead to the ouster of one of Silicon Valley’s most respected founders. Commentators across the internet speculated about the cause and lamented that it represented one of the greatest corporate value destructions in history.

In the days that followed, it became clear that the sudden departure of Sam Altman may have been the result of a major breakthrough in artificial general intelligence. Unlike large language models which rely on statistics and mathematical probability to render occasional hallucinogenic outputs, artificial general intelligence represents a new type of superintelligence that has the capacity to reason like humans.

AGI won’t just be an agent that does our work for us, it will surpass our own cognitive functions as human beings. When it’s finally created, it would effectively end our dominance as we know it, forever changing life on Earth.

That’s why a breakthrough like this represents far more than a business imperative. Curiosity may have led us down this path initially but continuing to pursue it is a matter of choice. It seems Sam Altman may be pressing ahead to cross this Rubicon for us, and a small faction within his company wanted to stop him. A recent discovery at OpenAI prompted a few researchers to pen a letter to the board of directors warning about the implications it would have for humanity, days before his ouster.

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Amanda Claypool

I’m a writer & strategy consultant musing about the future of the world as it’s unfolding. Stay ahead of the curve: https://amandaclaypool.ck.page/reading-list