OpenAI staff near total mutiny, threaten to follow founder Sam Altman to Microsoft
Monday November 20, 2023. 08:14 PM , from Mac Daily News
Most of OpenAI’s employees have threatened to resign and follow ousted leader Sam Altman to Microsoft Corp. unless the current board resigns. A letter signed by about 600 of the artificial intelligence firm’s roughly 770 employees on Monday states that the signatories are “unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgment and care for our mission and employees.”
Ashlee Vance, Edward Ludlow, and Vlad Savov for Bloomberg News:
After a tumultuous weekend that kicked off with Altman being abruptly fired by the OpenAI board on Friday, Microsoft, which owns almost half of the startup, brought on Altman and fellow OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman to lead a new in-house AI research team.
“Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join,” employees wrote in the letter.
The shakeup will reshape the world of artificial intelligence.
Ilya Sutskever, a board member who has been seen as instrumental in the board’s actions, in a tweet Monday said he regrets his participation in the perceived coup.
I deeply regret my participation in the board's actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we've built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.
— Ilya Sutskever (@ilyasut) November 20, 2023
MacDailyNews Take: It’s over. You blew it, bless your heart.
Altman’s firing came as a surprise to OpenAI’s workers, the letter said, as well as to Microsoft, the startup’s biggest shareholder and closest technology partner. A coalition of powerful investors, company leaders and the world’s largest software company tried to get Altman reinstated over the weekend to no avail.
The OpenAI employees’ (660 of them) letter to the Board, verbatim:
To the Board of Directors at OpenAI,
OpenAI is the world’s leading AI company. We, the employees of OpenAI, have developed the best models and pushed the field to new frontiers. Our work on AI safety and governance shapes global norms. The products we built are used by millions of people around the world. Until now, the company we work for and cherish has never been in a stronger position.
The process through which you terminated Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board has jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and company. Your conduct has made it clear you did not have the competence to oversee OpenAI.
When we all unexpectedly learned of your decision, the leadership team of OpenAI acted swiftly to stabilize the company. They carefully listened to your concerns and tried to cooperate with you on all grounds. Despite many requests for specific facts for your allegations, you have never provided any written evidence. They also increasingly realized you were not capable of carrying out your duties, and were negotiating in bad faith.
The leadership team suggested that the most stabilizing path forward – the one that would best serve our mission, company, stakeholders, employees and the public – would be for you to resign and put in place a qualified board that could lead the company forward in stability. Leadership worked with you around the clock to find a mutually agreeable outcome. Yet within two days of your initial decision, you again replaced interim CEO Mira Murati against the best interests of the company. You also informed the leadership team that allowing the company to be destroyed “would be consistent with the mission.”
Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAI. We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgement and care for our mission and employees. We, the undersigned, may choose to resign from OpenAI and join the newly announced Microsoft subsidiary run by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join. We will take this step imminently, 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.
MacDailyNews Take: Next to the Apple Board of Directors that gave Steve Jobs – STEVE JOBS – the ol’ heave-ho back in 1985, this group of imbeciles ranks No.2.
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Dec, Mon 4 - 17:41 CET