Hundreds of OpenAI employees threatened on Monday to leave the industry leader in artificial intelligence for Microsoft, exacerbating a crisis precipitated by the unexpected dismissal of CEO Sam Altman.
Following an abrupt series of occurrences, Microsoft has now recruited Altman, who was removed from his position by the board on Friday. At Microsoft, he will be responsible for spearheading the formation of a new advanced AI research team.
The overwhelming majority of OpenAI’s 770-person staff indicated in a letter to the media that they would continue working for Altman unless the board accountable for his departure resigned.
“Your conduct has unequivocally demonstrated your incompetence to supervise OpenAI,” the letter continued. “Microsoft has assured us that all OpenAI employees will have employment opportunities at this new subsidiary, should we decide to join.”
Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist of the organization and a member of the four-person board that dismissed Altman, was one of the signatories.
Sutskever expressed profound remorse for his involvement in the board’s deeds in a statement published on X, formerly Twitter. “My intention was never to cause harm to OpenAI.”
Another signatory was senior executive Mira Murati, who was nominated to succeed Altman as CEO following his dismissal on Friday but resigned over the weekend.
Staff members announced via social media on Monday that the letter had been signed by as many as 90 percent of OpenAI’s workforce.
“We are more united, committed, and focused than ever in history.” “In some way or another, we are all going to collaborate, and I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Altman stated on X.
OpenAI has selected Emmett Shear, a former CEO of Amazon’s Twitch streaming platform, as its new CEO, defying Microsoft and other significant investors’ pressure to reinstate Altman.
Following Altman’s dismissal by the startup’s board, US media reported that he underestimated the risks associated with the company’s technology and steered it away from its stated mission. Altman’s successor has denied these allegations.
Alongside OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman and other colleagues, Altman “will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” according to X, where Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, wrote.
Massive tech company Microsoft has incorporated OpenAI’s technology into its products and has invested over $10 billion in the AI pioneer.
“We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them,” Nadella of Microsoft stated in his post.
“We maintain confidence in our product roadmap and remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI,” he stated.
However, a senior AI executive at Microsoft affirmed that OpenAI members were more than welcome to return if the board that dismissed Altman did not resign.
“I am certain that some individuals will disapprove, but this is the finest show I have ever witnessed,” added Miguel Fierro, principal data scientist manager at the tech behemoth.
Last year, Altman rose to prominence with the introduction of ChatGPT, which sparked a competition to advance AI research and development and billions of dollars in investment in the industry.
His termination reportedly prompted several other prominent employees to resign from the organization, in addition to an effort by investors to rehire him.
However, OpenAI defended its decision in a memo distributed to staff on Sunday evening, wherein it stated, “Sam’s conduct and absence of openness… compromised the board’s capacity to oversee the organization efficiently.”