OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a year ago, said it has fired CEO Sam Altman, AFP reported.
Altman, 38, became a sensation in the tech world with the launch of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot with unprecedented capabilities that creates human-level content, such as poetry or artwork, in seconds.
He quickly became Silicon Valley's newest star, traveling the world to meet with political leaders and a vast audience captivated by the promises and threats of artificial intelligence.
His firing took the tech world by complete surprise, with rumors surfacing on social media about the reasons behind his sudden dismissal.
A statement from OpenAI's board said Altman's departure "followed a thoughtful review process" that concluded "he has not been consistently forthright in his communications with the board, which has hindered his ability to exercise its responsibilities".
"The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue to lead OpenAI," it concluded.
In a post on X, Altman said he "loved his time at OpenAI."
"It was transformative for me personally and, hopefully, a little bit for the world."
He said he would have "more to say about what's next later."
The launch of ChatGPT ignited a race in the field of artificial intelligence - billed as the next big chapter in technology - with contenders including tech giants Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Meta.
Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI and has built the company's technology into its offerings, including the Bing search engine.
Google, surprised by the situation, quickly began offering its own AI products, including the Bard chatbot.
Altman has testified before the US Congress on AI and spoken to heads of state about the technology as pressure to regulate risks such as AI's potential use for biological weapons, disinformation and other threats mounts.
The statement said the board is "grateful to Sam for his many contributions to the founding and development of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is needed to move forward."
Altman will be replaced on an interim basis by Mira Murati, the company's chief technology officer, the statement said.
"We have a long-term partnership with OpenAI, and Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we deliver this next era of artificial intelligence to our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. /BGNES