Most OpenAI employees have threatened to resign from the company and join Microsoft, which has Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has been hired and former OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman to lead a new “advanced AI research team.” In a letter to the OpenAI board reported this morning by Wired And journalist Kara Swisherover five hundred current OpenAI employees state that “Microsoft assured us that there would be positions for all OpenAI employees in this new subsidiary if we chose to join.” »
The letter states that OpenAI employees will resign if the board does not reinstate Altman and Brockman and then resign. But given that the board has already made its choice, deciding to stay put and appointing a new CEO, while Altman and Brockman are heading to Microsoft, it appears that Microsoft may have just found the first hundreds of Altman employees, assuming they are right about this. the company’s promise to hire them all.
The OpenAI employees signing the letter accuse the company’s board of directors of jeopardizing their jobs and of having “damaged our mission and our company.” They also reject the idea that OpenAI is moving too quickly without regard for security. “Our work on AI security and governance shapes global standards,” they write.
Swisher reports that OpenAI currently has 700 employees with more signatures still being added to the letter. The letter appears to have been written before last night’s events, suggesting it circulated in the run-up to Altman’s firing. This also means it may be too late for OpenAI’s board to act on the memo’s requests, if it wants to.
Microsoft has created a special “Advanced AI Research Team” to house a number of former OpenAI employees, with Sam Altman being offered the CEO title to lead the division. This is an unusual move for Microsoft outside of acquisitions, as the company typically only uses the CEO title for leaders of large divisions like Microsoft gamesor acquired companies like LinkedIn And GitHub. OpenAI employees have made it clear that Microsoft is treating this as a significant acquisition, assuring existing employees that there are open positions to join Sam Altman and his team at Microsoft.
Altman’s hiring came just hours after negotiations with OpenAI’s board failed to bring him back as OpenAI CEO over the weekend. Instead, the former CEO and co-founder of Twitch Emmett Shear named interim CEO. He will succeed Mira Murati, who was named interim CEO of OpenAI following Altman’s surprise firing on Friday. Murati tops the list of OpenAI employees now threatening to join Microsoft.
Microsoft’s new Advanced AI Research team, led by Altman and Brockman, comes just a week after Microsoft announced it had built its own custom AI chip which can be used to train large language models and potentially avoid costly dependence on Nvidia. Altman reportedly recently pitched investors for a separate startup to create custom AI Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) chips, rivaling Nvidia, according to The New York Times.