Weird Systems Inevitably Yield Weird Results: Harward Professor’s Take on OpenAi Drama
Longtime Harvard professor Noam Wasserman has called OpenAI’s governance model ‘inherently less predictable.’ In his article published by the Harvard Business Review, Prof. Wasserman invokes the old saying, “Monarchy is the greatest method of decision-making in the world, as long as the monarch is infallible.” The OpenAI board was answerable only to itself and its subjective interpretation of the nonprofit’s mission, leading to the chaos and failed coup against Altman, he concludes.
Unfortunately, big changes in a startup’s operational or governance model are especially risky. Significant changes made as a startup grows create the risk of destroying the company. And this is where OpenAI finds itself. It must limit its experiments to AI research and products and carefully embrace a more time-tested governance style. But getting from here to there will be challenging. The most challenging component is not engineering but people, Prof. Wasserman concludes.