According to a recent report by The Information, Sam Altman is contemplating transforming OpenAI into a for-profit company that would not be controlled by the current non-profit board. One option being explored is establishing OpenAI as a for-profit benefit corporation, also known as a B-Corp.

As a B-Corp, OpenAI would need to consider not only profits but also its impact on society and the environment, prioritizing the interests of employees, customers, community, and environment along with shareholders. It would be mandated by law to take these factors into account if it chooses to go down this path.

If OpenAI were to become a for-profit entity, it could pave the way for an initial public offering (IPO) where the public could own shares in the company. This could be a successful move for the company, especially with the popularity of ChatGPT.

However, as a public company, OpenAI would be more accountable to shareholders, potentially leading to more limitations on free services in order to drive increased revenue. While an IPO at this stage is merely conjecture, the shift to a for-profit structure could make it a viable option.

In response to The Information’s report, OpenAI stated to Reuters:

“We remain focused on building AI that benefits everyone. The nonprofit is core to our mission and will continue to exist.”

This statement suggests a possible setup akin to Mozilla’s, with a separate for-profit arm and non-profit arm. OpenAI may retain research activities within its non-profit sector while commercializing products like ChatGPT and APIs in the for-profit division to generate revenue.

Despite its name, OpenAI has not been very transparent about its language models, a departure from its original plans. There have also been disagreements with the former board and Altman regarding the company’s direction. Transitioning to a for-profit structure could help reshape perceptions of OpenAI and align it more closely with Sam Altman’s vision.

Source: The Information and ReutersImage via


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