The weekend drama involving OpenAI illustrated my longstanding belief that the wrong board can damage a company. While fancy titles like “Director of Strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology” may give a false sense of understanding of the complex process of entrepreneurial innovation, it is ultimately the actions and beliefs of the board members that truly matter.
In the case of OpenAI, I believe that the religion of “effective altruism” and its misapplication by the board members could have set back humanity’s progress towards achieving tremendous benefits from artificial intelligence. Imagine a world where everyone has access to free doctors and near-free tutors thanks to AI. That is what is at stake with this technology.
However, despite these risks, I still believe in the power of good founders to outweigh any negative consequences. Founders like Sam Altman, who put everything on the line to challenge the status quo and make the world a better place, are essential to creating successful companies that have a positive impact on society. While abuse can happen and things can go wrong, I believe that having strong visionaries who are willing to take risks and focus on making a difference is worth any potential downsides.