Just when I thought the OpenAI saga couldn’t get any crazier, I learned last night that OpenAI’s board had approached Dario Amodei, the co-founder and CEO of its biggest startup rival Anthropic, about a potential merger of the two companies as part of an effort to persuade him to replace Sam Altman as CEO.
The idea didn’t get very far. In fact, if you’re counting, you’ll see we’re up to four different executives (that we know of) that OpenAI’s board has approached about the CEO position, including former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, Scale AI CEO Alex Wang and Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear, who eventually took the interim CEO gig.
In some ways, the choice of Amodei to lead OpenAI would make sense given the divisions around AI safety leading up to Altman’s ouster. The reason Amodei left OpenAI in the first place to start Anthropic was because he, and others, were concerned that the company was moving too quickly to commercialize its technology, a fear that has echoed in the months leading up to Altman’s firing.