Since last Friday, the world of artificial intelligence has been turned upside down, notably due to the dismissal of Sam Altman, the former CEO of OpenAI. His departure also marked the resignation of Greg Brockman, the company’s co-founder, but above all the hiring of the two men by Microsoft within a “new research team on advanced AI”. Things are moving forward today, since more than 500 OpenAI employees say they are ready to join the ranks of the Redmond firm.
Majority of OpenAI employees ready to join Microsoft
505 of OpenAI’s 700 employees are demanding the resignation of OpenAI’s board of directors and the installation of two lead directors like Bret Taylor and Will Hurd, as well as the reinstatement of Sam Altman and Greg Brockman to the company.
If the council does not comply with these conditions, 505 OpenAI employees will join Microsoft’s “new advanced AI research team”. The Redmond firm has in fact “assured that there are positions for all OpenAI employees in this new subsidiary” if they decide to join it.
Your actions have exposed your inability to oversee OpenAl. We cannot work for or with people who lack skill, judgment and care for our mission and our employees. We, the undersigned, may choose to resign from OpenAI and join the recently announced Microsoft subsidiary led by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees in this new subsidiary if we choose to join. We will take this action as soon as possible unless all current board members resign and the board appoints two new lead independent directors, such as Bret Taylor and Will Hurd, and reinstates Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.
A case far from over
Kara Swisher, the journalist who shared the letter, also says that other signatures should be added. It appears to have been written before Greg Brockman and Sam Altman were hired by Microsoft that night, so it would have continued to circulate since.
Since both men have already joined the ranks of Microsoft, it may also already be too late for the board of directors to respond to employees’ demands.
Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist at OpenAI, said he regrets his involvement in the firing of Sam Altman. Its presence in the letter therefore raises questions.
I deeply regret having participated in the actions of the board of directors. It was never my intention to harm OpenAI. I love everything we have built together and will do everything in my power to bring the company back together.
Either way, the next few days are going to be very interesting to watch. It’s a safe bet that Sam Altman will be joined by a horde of employees. He was also offered the role of CEO of this new division, a role previously existing only within Microsoft Gaming, LinkedIn and GitHub.
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) November 20, 2023