Boba fuels OpenAI execs on long day of Sam Altman talks

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More than a dozen cups of boba reportedly kept leaders at OpenAI going as discussions over the fate of ousted chief executive Sam Altman dragged into the weekend.

Catch up: Altman, 38, was fired by OpenAI’s board of directors on Friday, claiming that he had not been “consistently candid in his communications” with them. The firing is regarded as significant because it will affect future points in AI development, which OpenAI — through Altman’s leadership — has taken a leading role in.

Altman’s ousting has also revived debates on how AI should move forward. On one side are those like Altman who support its public deployment as a means to perfect it; on the other are those concerned that it may develop too fast and eventually become uncontrollable, including OpenAI co-founder Ilya Sutskever, a board member who initially approved Altman’s exit.

Boba floods in: Since firing Altman, the board reportedly fell under pressure to reverse their decision. Talks to bring him back, as well as a potential board restructuring, reportedly continued until Sunday, prompting boba reinforcements.

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At around 12:45 p.m., a delivery man carrying a dozen drinks from Boba Guys showed up at the entrance to OpenAI’s headquarters, according to The New York Times, which had been following and reporting developments on the matter. Sometime later, another arrived with half a dozen more.

Reactions: The idea of OpenAI leaders staying hydrated with boba through hours of pivotal decision-making did not get lost on social media. On X, screenshots of the Times excerpt made rounds, eventually reaching the Boba Guys themselves.

Co-founder and CEO Andrew Chau took to Instagram to share messages he had received.

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“Yes, we were just made aware of the OpenAI/ChatGPT article in the @nytimes. Apparently, Boba Guys is the fuel for the future of AI,” Chau wrote. “This was not on our 2023 bingo card.”

Chau said Boba Guys will abstain from commenting on the subject in question. However, he concluded his post expressing hopes that “the board and leadership team makes the best decision not just for the company, but for humanity.”

Altman, in the end, was hired by Microsoft, OpenAI's biggest shareholder, on Monday.

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