The weekend drama that unfolded at OpenAI has illustrated my belief that the wrong board members can have a detrimental impact on a company. Despite having fancy titles such as “Director of Strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology,” it’s important to remember that these titles do not necessarily translate into a deep understanding of the complex process of entrepreneurial innovation.
OpenAI’s board members, with their religion of “effective altruism” and their misapplication of this belief system, could have set back humanity’s progress towards the tremendous benefits that artificial intelligence could bring. Imagine a world where everyone has access to free doctors and near-free tutors. That is what is at stake with the promise of AI.
The best companies are those that are led and executed by their founding entrepreneurs, who put everything on the line to challenge the status quo and make the world a better place. While things may go wrong, and abuse may occur, the benefits of having good founders far outweigh any risks associated with having bad ones. Sam Altman is an example of such a founder who has taken risks head-on and remained focused on making the world a better place through his work with OpenAI.