ChatGPT OpenAI, the company behind the popular and controversial artificial intelligence application ChatGPT, has been facing a public relations crisis after dramatically sacking its CEO Sam Altman.
Altman is not just the CEO, he is also the figurehead of a revolution in AI that has enthralled the public and investors.
ChatGPT, which was released in March 2023, quickly became the fastest-growing consumer application in history, attracting over one millions users within 5 days of launch. ChatGPT been a spectacular public relations success story.
However, ChatGPT also raised many ethical and social concerns, such as the potential for misuse, abuse, and manipulation of the technology.
Why was ChatGPT CEO fired and what has happened since?
Altman had been vocal about the risks and challenges of AI, and had advocated for proactive government regulation and public oversight of the technology.
He had also implemented some safety measures and limitations on ChatGPT, such as requiring users to agree to a code of conduct, filtering out harmful or offensive content, and limiting the length and frequency of the outputs.
Altman had said that he was “a little bit scared” of the technology he had helped create, and that he wanted to ensure that it was used for good and not evil. He had also said that he believed that AI could be “the greatest technology humanity has yet developed”, if handled responsibly and ethically.
However, not everyone in the AI community and the public shared Altman’s vision and values. Some critics accused him of being too cautious and restrictive, and of stifling innovation and creativity.
In a weekend of corporate drama, OpenAI’s investors, led by the biggest, Microsoft, attempted to reinstate Altman. It ended up hiring him instead.
OpenAI’s 700-strong workforce is in uproar about Altman’s sacking. In an open letter to the board of directors published on Monday, more than 500 staff also threatened to resign.
Sam Altman and members of the OpenAI (C) board have opened negotiations aimed at a possible return of the ousted co-founder and chief executive officer to the artificial intelligence company, according to Bloomberg.
The drama is certainly not over.
What are the top 5 public relations lessons from the ChatGPT saga?
Communicate openly and honestly with the public. If there are changes in leadership or significant events, be transparent about the reasons behind them. Lack of transparency can lead to speculation and rumors, potentially damaging the organization’s reputation.
Crisis response and mechanism
In public relations, it’s essential to respond quickly in a crisis, but it’s even more vital to have crisis management mechanism in place.
Clearly, both of these golden rules of public relations crisis management were missing at ChatGPT.
Messaging discipline and consistency
Ensure that all communication, both internal and external, is consistent. Mixed messages can confuse the public
The lack of message discipline and consistency takes the ChatGPT situation into a public relations nightmare
Employees can be powerful advocates for an organization, and their understanding of the situation can positively impact external perceptions and create a stronger public relations synergy.
Here again, ChatGPT failed badly and its employees instead of being advocates ended up being flame throwers.
Trust lost is not easily regained
If trust has been eroded, take proactive steps to rebuild it. This may involve demonstrating a commitment to transparency, acknowledging mistakes, and implementing changes to prevent similar issues in the future. ChatGPT is yet to follow any of these public relations fundamentals.
Finally…” whoever has the gold makes the rules”
Microsoft’s hiring of the sacked ChatGPT CEO has again proved right the old cliche that the tune is often dictated by he who pays the piper, and whoever has the gold makes the rules.
Will ChatGPT continue to shine or will the public relations disaster soon steal its thunder? Time will soon tell.