OpenAI Employees Threaten To Quit En Masse After Former CEO Sam Altman Joins Microsoft
The artificial intelligence company OpenAI recently made headlines when it was announced that their former CEO Sam Altman was joining Microsoft. Just days after this announcement, it was revealed that many OpenAI employees are preparing to walk away in protest due to their views on Sam Altman’s leadership.
OpenAI is a cutting-edge research-oriented organization focused on creating technologies that can help sci-fi-like artificial intelligence become reality. Founded in 2015, the company has been known for its close ties with tech giants like Microsoft, and it was agreed that Sam Altman would step down as CEO of the organization in March 2019.
On April 1, the news broke that Sam Altman had accepted an executive position at Microsoft. While this news was met with enthusiasm by many, it was met with dissent by OpenAI’s staff. Many company employees have come forward and voiced their opposition to this move, citing ethical and purely personal reasons for why they do not approve of this decision.
The employees’ biggest concern is that Altman’s transition to Microsoft will cause OpenAI to become too closely tied to the tech giant, compromising the company’s independence and ability to make decisions. This has resulted in over twenty OpenAI staff members threatening to leave the company en masse if Altman’s appointment is not reversed.
The OpenAI staff has also expressed other, highly personal reasons for why they are unhappy with Altman’s appointment. Many have spoken about how they did not enjoy his management style and found him to be overly controlling. In contrast to Altman’s authoritarian leadership, OpenAI’s current management team has made its commitment to empowering the team’s creativity and autonomy extremely clear and this could face disruption with Altman’s arrival at Microsoft.
In response to these proclamations, OpenAI’s board of directors has said that they are in current dialogue with the company’s employees. Microsoft, too, has released a statement saying that they are “confident in OpenAI’s independent commitment to innovation” and that they believe Altman’s experience and advice will play a valuable role in its advancement.
It remains to be seen whether or not OpenAI’s dissenters will be successful in reversing Altman’s appointment or if they will eventually follow through on their threat to quit en masse in response. Despite the current unrest at OpenAI, the company continues to work hard on bringing their vision of a more sci-fi-like artificial intelligence closer to reality.