Almost the entire workforce at OpenAI has threatened to leave the company if the board does not step aside and bring back Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. The two former leaders at OpenAI had been abruptly ousted over the weekend for “lack of candid communication.”
In a letter to the OpenAI board, 700 out of the roughly 770 employees at the company threatened to quit and join Microsoft. The letter said: “Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join.”
The letter accuses the board of jeopardizing their work and undermining the mission and integrity of the company. The letter emphatically rejects the notion that OpenAI was advancing too swiftly without prioritizing safety, asserting that their contributions to AI safety and governance actively shape global norms.
The employees also called the board “incapable of leading OpenAI” and that they refused to work for people who lacked competence, in bold letters.
“Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAl. We are unable to work for or with people who lack competence, judgment, 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.”
The letter is even signed by Ilya Sutskever, a board member and chief scientist at OpenAI, who initially led the charge for firing former CEO Sam Altman. He has said that he deeply regrets his participation in the board’s actions and that he never meant to harm OpenAI.
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
This clears the way for Sam Altman, who is still trying to reclaim his position as the OpenAI CEO. He has not yet joined Microsoft despite Satya Nadella’s announcement. The said announcement was only meant to be a “holding pattern”, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Altman has also indicated that he is continuing his attempt to return as the OpenAI CEO. In a tweet from yesterday, he said “We are all going to work together some way or other.”
we have more unity and commitment and focus than ever before.
we are all going to work together some way or other, and i’m so excited.
one team, one mission.
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 20, 2023