Who Controls OpenAI?
In the first diagram, the word "Controls" appears four times, and if you trace it through, you will see that the board of directors of OpenAI ultimately controls each entity in the organization. All of OpenAI answers to its ultimate decision-making body, an independent nonprofit board of directors who do not own any equity in the OpenAI entities and who, broadly speaking, appoint themselves. So: Is control of OpenAI indicated by the word "Controls," or by the word "MONEY"? In some technical sense, the first diagram is correct; that board really did fire that CEO. In some practical sense, if Microsoft has a perpetual license to OpenAI's technology and now also most of its employees - "You can make the case that Microsoft just acquired OpenAI for $0 and zero risk of an antitrust lawsuit," writes Ben Thompson - the money kind of won. The Story of OpenAI. OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit with "With the goal of building safe and beneficial artificial general intelligence for the benefit of humanity." But "It became increasingly clear that donations alone would not scale with the cost of computational power and talent required to push core research forward," so OpenAI created a weird corporate structure, in which a "Capped-profit" subsidiary would raise billions of dollars from investors by offering them a juicy return on their capital, but OpenAI's nonprofit board of directors would ultimately control the organization. "The for-profit subsidiary is fully controlled by the OpenAI Nonprofit," whose "Principal beneficiary is humanity, not OpenAI investors." OpenAI's new CEO, and its nonprofit board, cut them a check for their capped return and said "Bye" and went back to running OpenAI for the benefit of humanity. If everyone quits to join Sam Altman at Microsoft, then what is the point of continuing to control OpenAI? "In a post on LinkedIn, Nadella wrote that Microsoft remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI and has 'confidence in our product roadmap,'" but that's easy for him to say isn't it? He can keep partnering with the husk of OpenAI, while also owning the active core of it.