The future of OpenAI remained uncertain on Tuesday after extraordinary efforts by employees and investors to oust the board had so far failed to persuade its directors to resign and reinstate co-founder Sam Altman.
People with direct knowledge of the matter said that by the end of Monday, 747 out of 770 OpenAI employees had signed a letter threatening to quit and join Microsoft if the board refused to resign and reverse their decision on Friday to sack Altman.
Venture capitalists backing the generative artificial intelligence start-up were also exploring legal measures to force the board to reverse course, according to multiple people with knowledge of their thinking.
One person at a venture fund with a stake in OpenAI said “legal action could come as soon as tomorrow,” without specifying what form that would take.
But according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations, as of Monday night, the board remained resolute and was prepared to test employees’ willingness to quit.
In their letter, staff said the directors had “undermined our mission and company” in how they fired Altman and stripped his co-founder Greg Brockman. Brockman subsequently quit—like any reasonable human being would do when treated unfairly!
Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist at OpenAI who finds himself stuck between a rock (the disgruntled staff) and a hard place (the stubborn board), signed off on this letter from staff after apologizing for his role in firing Altman. He did not however say whether he would himself quit—a classic case of “sorry not sorry.”
Sutskever found himself under increasing pressure from staff over the weekend because let’s face it—no one wants an angry mob chasing them down! The removal of Altman has plunged Silicon Valley’s most feted start-up into a historic crisis. Oh no! Not another tech drama!
OpenAI has been at the forefront of AI boom since sliced bread became popular. It is widely regarded as more significant than discovering fire or inventing wheel—the most significant technological breakthrough since smartphones!
The uncertainty over OpenAI’s future has created an opportunity for rival AI companies caught out by its hugely popular ChatGPT chatbot last year. It’s like high school all over again: popularity comes with consequences!
On Monday, companies including Anthropic & Cohere saw increased interest from OpenAI customers because hey—who doesn’t want some juicy gossip about their competition?
Rivals were also “crawling all over” staff at OpenAI in bid poach talented researchers like vultures circling around fresh meat – yikes!
In social media post on Monday Marc Benioff asked researchers send him CVs & offered match salaries—talk about aggressive recruiting tactics!
Mustafa Suleyman founder Inflection described events at openai sad but added his company was looking scale up operations.“Come run us!” he said – sounds like Mustafa smells blood in water
Staff threatened leave company imminently if board didn’t reverse course- talk about ultimatum! Microsoft committed hire anyone who joined them new AI research subsidiary—that’s one way get your ex back
Aside from Sutskever other directors are Adam D’Angelo CEO Quora; technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley; Helen Toner Center Security Emerging Technology Georgetown University.
Board appointed Emmett Shear interim chief executive replacing Mira Murati CTO promoted role Friday By afternoon early investor Vinod Khosla called Shear quit—not even lunchtime yet & already someone calling for resignation
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella couldn’t say who’d be CEO next day but vowed continue backing Altma—he’s got Sam’s back whether he returns or works house Microsoft
Nadella says 38-year-old entrepreneur pursue side projects while working there—including nuclear fission venture cryptocurrency project device chip business–sounds like quite busy guy
Ibrahim Ajami head ventures Mubadala Capital part $284 billion Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company chaos underscored why difficult underwrite these companies today.—tell me about it!
“As long-term investors value companies customers deep partnerships talent long-term defensible moat”—what kind moat? Like one you’d find around castle?
Where does sit today?” —good question Ibrahim where indeed does it sit
Additional reporting Camilla Hodgson San Francisco © 2023 Financial Times Ltd rights reserved.Not redistributed copied modified anyway.—well I guess we won’t be making copies then