- OpenAI employees are going through a difficult time after Sam Altman was suddenly fired from the company.
- Some employees are like that threatened to quit if Altman was not reinstated as CEO.
- Here’s what OpenAI employees say about the chaotic transition.
OpenAI employees are having a lot of fun.
As of Friday, the company was changing three CEOs: co-founder Sam Altman, former CTO Mira Murati and current CEO Emmett Shear, who co-founded Twitch.
Altman’s removal by the company’s management was a shock to employees and investors. Several employees quickly followed the former CEO and parted ways with the company.
Altman, along with former OpenAI CEO Greg Brockman and prominent researchers including Alexander Madry, joined Microsoft after a chaotic weekend spent back and forth with OpenAI’s board.
More OpenAI employees threatened to join them if Altman was not reinstated and the board did not resign.
In a letter to the board, signed by nearly 500 employees, employees wrote: “Microsoft has assured us that this new subsidiary will have positions for all OpenAI employees if we decide to join.”
This threat is unlikely to be a major shock to OpenAI management.
Employees are not ashamed to support a suddenly fired boss. Employees flooded X with hearts over the weekend, showing support for each other and departing co-founders Brockman and Altman.
One OpenAI employee, Will Depue, he said on Saturday: : “It’s hard to express how much I admire Sam and Greg. I’m really impressed that they’re leaving and no longer have the opportunity to work for them.”
Throughout Sunday night, more OpenAI employees spoke out and shared information repeated message: “OpenAI is nothing without its people.”
Some employees went even further, openly criticizing management and targeting OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who reportedly played a major role in Altman’s ouster.
Shengjia Zhao, a research fellow at OpenAI, sharply criticized the company’s chief scientist in a now-deleted post on X. He said: “Ilya doesn’t care about safety or humanity. It’s just ego and hunger for power that backfired.”
Jan Leike, who co-leads the OpenAI alignment team with Sutskever, also openly called on the board to resign in a post on X, and then many other employees followed its leader and posted messages with identical wording.
Others simply expressed their confusion.
Andrej Karpathy, who was previously senior director of AI at Tesla will rejoin OpenAI in 2023, – wrote in Sunday’s post: “I like and respect Sam and I think most of OpenAI do too. The management board had the opportunity to explain its drastic actions, but did not do so, so there is nothing to complain about except what it looks like exactly.”