Like the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk before, and the alleged mixed martial arts match between Musk himself and Zuckerberg after, now also Sam Altman’s departure from the leadership of OpenAI is taking on the contours of a catchphrase.
Last (but only for now, we presume) news in chronological order, one letter signed by most OpenAI employees, calling for the resignation of the board of directors (the very one who torpedoed Altman). The threat is to en masse follow their former boss, who landed at Microsoft.
Let’s take stock of the situation starting right here, from the letter from OpenAI employees.
The (threatening) letter from OpenAI employees
The numbers, taking a look at the Italian press, do not agree. Some people talk about 500 out of 700, some about 700 out of 770.
However, one thing is certain: a large percentage of OpenAI employees have signed a vitriolic letter, calling for the immediate reinstatement of Sam Altman as head of the company.
The letter was published on social media, and contains some passages worth quoting. “The process by which you fired Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board of directors has jeopardized all of our work, undermined our mission and our company.
The board’s conduct highlighted the fact that it does not have the expertise to oversee OpenAI.”
There is no shortage of the threat of a mass takeover of Microsofta company that – as we said – welcomed Sam Altman as head of an artificial intelligence research group.
In the letter from OpenAI employees we read: “Microsoft has assured us that there are open positions for all AI employees in this new subsidiary in case we want to accept.”
The presence of some signatories among the first names is curious. First of all Mira Muratithe Chief Technology Officer who was interim CEO for a few hours, before the board chose Emmet Shear, the co-founder of Twitch.
But the signature of Ilya Sutskever, scientific director of OpenAI and member of the company’s board of directors, is even more surprising. Sutskever is among those who pushed Altman away. However, his repentance, as well as from his signature on the letter, is evident from a post published on X: “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.”
That is: “I deeply regret my participation in the council’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we have built together and will do everything I can to bring the company together.”
Let’s face it, Sam Altman reacted to the post with three little hearts (we’re really in the area of the catchphrase).
What happened before
On Friday 17 November, with a note also made public on the OpenAI blog, the company’s board of directors welcomed Sam Altman.
The reasons state that Altman “has not been consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering his ability to carry out his responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue to lead OpenAI.”
The press release also announces the interim election of the aforementioned Mira Murati as new CEO. A few hours pass and the news arrives, more and more insistent, that the new CEO will be Emmet Shear, founder of Twitch, who left the company at the beginning of the year.
At the same time, the first rumors began that investors would support Altman’s reinstatement, fearful of damage to the company’s image. Altman who, however, to return to the role of CEO, would have asked for the dismissal of the board. He will see him perfectly aligned with the OpenAI employees who signed the letter
Altman and OpenAI at Microsoft
While OpenAI announced the installation of Emmet Shear in the role of CEO, Nadya Satella – head of Microsoft – made official the transition of Sam Altman into its ranks.
Satella wrote in a post on our customers and partners.
We look forward to meeting and working with Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team.
And we are extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, along with colleagues, will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced artificial intelligence research team.”
We’ll see what happens in the next few hours.