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LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman leaves OpenAI’s board of directors due to conflict of interest


Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, said in an online post that he is leaving OpenAI’s board of directors to avoid a conflict of interest as he supports more AI companies.

Hoffman, who has invested in and advised the startup since its founding in 2015, said his venture capital firm Greylock funds companies like presentation creator Tome, which pays for tools from OpenAI, creator of chatbot ChatGPT. Hoffman also co-founded Inflection AI, which is one of the best startups working in technology similar to OpenAI.

“By stepping down from the board, I can proactively eliminate any potential downstream issues for both OpenAI and all Greylock portfolio companies I have supported,” he said, noting that OpenAI has so far avoided conflicts.

Hoffman’s departure underscores the competition among a growing number of companies that aim to reshape content production as well as entire industries through artificial intelligence.

At the same time, Hoffman said he remains an “ally” of OpenAI and wants to work towards “uplifting humanity” through technology including cross-industry partnerships if desired.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, said in a tweet in response to Hoffmann that he looks forward to “more collaborations in the future!”

Hoffman remains on the board of directors of Microsoft Corp., itself a senior partner and investor in OpenAI.

Meanwhile, OpenAI, in its latest update, has made the ChatGPT tool available for companies to embed in their own applications as they seek commercial uses for the hugely popular chatbots.

The company is now offering paid access to companies and developers who want to use the software’s ability to answer questions and generate scripts in their apps and products. Customers will be able to connect their applications to the ChatGPT API, giving them the same version of the GPT 3.5 model used by OpenAI itself at a cost 10 times lower than existing OpenAI models.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.