With the sudden firing of Sam Altman, the shake up has generated enormous backlash from OpenAI’s employees. Early Monday morning around 500 of the total 700 employees at OpenAI signed an letter condemning the company’s board for the firing of Sam Altman. According to the Wired report, the group of OpenAI employees threatened to resign from their positions and join Altman at his new position at Microsoft.
“…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,” read the letter. “Your conduct has made it clear you did not have the competence to oversee OpenAI.”
“…Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join,” it continued.
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) November 20, 2023
Altman was fired on Friday after OpenAI’s board found no confidence “in his ability to continue leading” the company. When negotiations broke down and it was revealed that Altman wouldn’t be reinstated as CEO, Altman surprised everyone be joining Microsoft as the CEO of a brand-new advanced AI research team.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadell announced the news on X, sharing his excitement not only for Altman but OpenAI’s Co-Creator Greg Brockman joining the company.
“…We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them. And we’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” Nadell wrote.
“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”
That said, Altman and Brockman’s move to Microsoft isn’t set in stone. Altman told The Verge that he and Brockman would be willing to come back to OpenAI if the current board stepped down.
And with the hundreds of employees threatening to move to Microsoft, it wouldn’t be surprising if OpenAI’s board agrees to their demands.
Shortly after the letter was made public OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, shared his regrets about firing Altman on X, stating that he never intended to harm the company.
“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI,” said Sutskever. “I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.” Bizarrely, Sutskever’s name is on the list of resignations, too.
Since the letter was revealed more signatures have been added. At the moment over 650, almost all of OpenAI’s employees, have signed on. Whatever decision it’s board makes, it will likely revealed before the week is over.