Artificial Intelligence: OpenAI Employees Turn Up The Heat On Its Board; Threaten Mass Exodus
OpenAI employees are up in arms over the board’s firing of Sam Altman.
OpenAI is in turmoil as employees and investors call for the resignation of three directors, following the removal of CEO Sam Altman. In a letter to the board, employees expressed displeasure with the directors’ handling of Altman’s departure, with 747 out of 770 employees reportedly calling for the board’s resignation.
The upheaval comes as a significant setback for OpenAI, once considered a leader in AI development. After failed attempts to reinstate Altman, the board appointed Emmett Shear as interim CEO, and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), OpenAI’s major investor, hired Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman to lead a new AI unit.
Altman has committed to OpenAI’s continuity, amidst a collaboration with Microsoft. The staff’s open letter demanded resignations and the appointment of new lead independent directors, while some prominent investors hoped for Altman’s return. The sale of OpenAI employees’ stock, expected to value the company at $86 billion, now hangs in the balance.
Rivals are seizing the opportunity created by OpenAI’s crisis. Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) CEO Marc Benioff publicly invited OpenAI researchers to join his company. The reasons for Altman’s removal remain unclear, with the board citing a lack of consistency and candor in his communications.
Shear, denying safety concerns as the cause, plans to hire an independent investigator to examine the incident. Meanwhile, Microsoft remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI.
Despite legal measures being explored by venture capitalists and the threat of staff exodus to Microsoft, the board remains steadfast in its stand. According to Reuters, the OpenAI board had approached the co-founders of Anthropic, a rival AI startup, to replace Altman and explore a potential merger, but both proposals were declined.
The situation has plunged OpenAI into a profound crisis, impacting the AI industry’s trajectory. Its future remains uncertain as it navigates internal challenges and external competition in the evolving AI landscape.
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