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21 May, 2024

Over 500 employees to leave OpenAI and join Microsoft

OpenAI faces internal crisis as staff contemplates Microsoft shift


In a stunning development, a significant portion of OpenAI's workforce—over 500 employees—expresses intent to leave the AI company and join Microsoft. This comes in the aftermath of the controversial firing of CEO Sam Altman.

In a letter addressed to OpenAI's board of directors, published by Wired and journalist Kara Swisher, the employees claim that "Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary if we choose to join." The letter accuses the board of compromising their work and undermining the company's mission.

The signatories vehemently reject the assertion that OpenAI was moving too fast without regard for safety. They argue that their efforts in AI security and governance are instrumental in shaping global norms.

Ilya Succever, OpenAI's chief science officer, who reportedly played a key role in Altman's removal, expressed regret on X (formerly Twitter), acknowledging the "weekend of chaos" within the company. "I deeply regret my participation in the board's actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI," said Schutskever. "I love everything we have built together and will do everything I can to reunite the company."

The shockwaves began on a Friday when OpenAI's board of directors announced Altman's firing, citing an investigation that found he "was not always truthful in his communications with the board, hurting his ability to fulfill his duties." The board declared a lack of confidence in Altman's ability to lead OpenAI.

Since the announcement, several executives, notably Greg Brockman, chairman of the management board, have resigned, adding to the mounting challenges facing the company founded in 2015. OpenAI is now grappling with internal turmoil and uncertainties about its future leadership and strategic direction.

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