Sam Altman wants a for-profit OpenAI.

OpenAI can turn into a for-profit entity. The ChatGPT maker currently operates under a unique structure—a non-profit parent company overseeing a for-profit subsidiary. This setup is raising eyebrows and sparking discussions.

What's going on here?

The Information reports that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is considering shaking things up by ditching the non-profit model and converting the entire company into a for-profit entity.

What does this mean?

Currently, the for-profit arm pays a share of its profits to the non-profit parent, but there are caps on how much those investors can earn. Shifting to a fully for-profit model could remove these caps, allowing investors to rake in greater profits. OpenAI employees have already sold more than $800 million worth of shares in the past year.

Ditching the ties from the non-profit will require the company to pay a substantial amount as the non-profit was the major capital provider before Microsoft committed billions to OpenAI. Of course, this switch isn’t going to be smooth (it raises multiple ethical and tax questions too).

Although, if it does happen, it would likely give Altman a sizable stake and the investors more control—something they have been pushing for a while. On the other hand, Altman has often touted his lack of financial incentives as the commitment to build a safe AGI. This change could also pave the way for an OpenAI IPO

Why should I care?

Any change to OpenAI’s structure could have ripple effects across the industry. A for-profit model could mean a more aggressive push for revenue growth, leading to new products and innovations. However, it could also raise questions about the company's commitment to its original mission of "AI for the benefit of humanity."

One takeaway from this saga: Innovate via the technology, not the org structure, to build something lasting.

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