OpenAI drama continues: Over 500 employees threaten to quit and join Microsoft

International Desk

Published: November 21, 2023, 01:33 AM

OpenAI drama continues: Over 500 employees threaten to quit and join Microsoft

Representational Image containing logo of both institutions.

The majority of OpenAI employees have threatened to quit and join Microsoft, which has hired former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and former president Greg Brockman to run a new "advanced AI research team."

More than 500 current employees wrote a letter to OpenAI‍‍`s board, published by Wired, where they said, “Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join,” reports The Verge.

According to the letter, if the board does not restore Altman and Brockman, the OpenAI staff will quit. But, given that the board has already made its decision, it appears that Microsoft may have just found Altman‍‍`s first several hundred employees, assuming they are correct about the company‍‍`s promise to hire them all, it said.

Employees at OpenAI, who signed the letter, accused the company‍‍`s board of jeopardising their work and violating their rights. They also rejected the notion that OpenAI was moving too swiftly and without regard for safety. "Our work on AI safety and governance shapes global norms," they wrote.

OpenAI head scientist Ilya Sutskever, who apparently led the campaign to oust Altman, expressed sadness on X (previously Twitter) over the weekend of instability at OpenAI. "I deeply regret my involvement in the board‍‍`s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI," Sutskever wrote.

"I love everything we‍‍`ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company." Surprisingly, Sutskever‍‍`s name is also on the list of resignations, it also said.

Microsoft has now launched a new "advanced AI research team" to house a number of former OpenAI personnel, with Altman given the position of CEO to manage the group. Outside of acquisitions, this is an unusual step for Microsoft, since the CEO title is usually reserved for the heads of large divisions like Microsoft Gaming or acquired firms like LinkedIn and GitHub.

Employees at OpenAI have stated unequivocally that Microsoft is approaching this as a major acquisition, assuring existing employees that there are available positions to join Altman and his team at Microsoft.



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