Sam Altman's return to OpenAI prompts flood of memes

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Sam Altman memes: The best reactions to his departure, return to OpenAI

It was a very meme-able saga.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Nov 22, 2023

A turbulent weekend at OpenAI that began with CEO Sam Altman’s ouster culminated Tuesday night with his return to the company, after hundreds of employees threatened to resign and follow Altman to Microsoft.

The saga, which captivated the internet as it played out, drew a flurry of memes detailing Altman’s return—some of which were posted even before his return was announced.

The best Sam Altman memes

“The last week in OpenAI history,” wrote Mike Bird on Wednesday morning, alongside an image that Joseph Stalin infamously had edited. But in Bird’s series of photos, the final image shows Stalin removed instead.

“This has gotta be the Games of Thrones in the tech industry…” posted another X user with the GigaChad meme

Another X user used a clip from The Office to demonstrate what Altman’s return would look like.

But not everyone’s memes came in response to the news of Altman’s return. Some memes all but predicted it.

“Sam Altman practicing how he’s gonna walk back into the OpenAI offices on Monday morning,” wrote one user with a clip of the Talking Heads’ David Byrne rehearsing dance moves.

“Exclusive: Footage of Sam Altman returning to OpenAI as CEO,” posted someone else on Saturday with a nearly 2-minute clip from the show Entourage, showing a character returning to his office with a paintball gun after being rehired.

Along with Altman’s return, OpenAI announced a new initial board that includes former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and current board member and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo.

“We are collaborating to figure out the details,” the company said of Altman’s return. “Thank you so much for your patience through this.”

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*First Published: Nov 22, 2023, 10:36 am CST