By Kanishka Sarkar
Did someone say ChatGPT could take away your job? Not so soon for its makers at OpenAI, at least. Out from survey reports and just posts on LinkedIn and recruitment websites, the war for artificial intelligence (AI) talent is on. Courtesy: OpenAI board’s move to oust Sam Altman.
When the OpenAI board on November 17 announced its decision to fire its CEO Sam Altman, it may have known that it could face some resistance from investors, including Microsoft and Vinod Khosla. But, that staffers would have a near total mutiny may have come as a surprise.
Nearly all of OpenAI’s employees have threatened to quit and follow ousted leader Sam Altman to work at the company’s biggest investor, Microsoft Corp., unless the current board resigns, leaving the future of the high-profile artificial intelligence startup increasingly uncertain.
More than 700 of the AI firm’s roughly 770 employees signed a letter on November 21 addressed to OpenAI’s board stating that the signatories are “unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgement and care for our mission and employees.”
The letter called for every member of the board to resign and for Altman to be reinstated, or else employees might jump to Microsoft. The software giant “has assured us there are positions for all OpenAI employees,” the letter said.
Hours later, Salesforce Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff is immediately offering jobs to researchers who resign from their posts at OpenAI and said that their compensation will be matched.
“Salesforce will match any OpenAI researcher who has tendered their resignation full cash and equity OTE to immediately join our Salesforce Einstein Trusted AI research team under Silvio Savarese. Send me your cv directly to email@example.com. Einstein is the most successful enterprise AI Platform completing 1 Trillion predictive & generative transactions this week! Join our Trusted AI Enterprise Revolution,” Benioff said in a post on X.
Satya Nadella told CNBC International, has said it’s the choice of OpenAI employees whether they stay in their current roles or move to Microsoft, adding that his company has what it needs to keep innovating on its own. “I’m open to both options,” he said.
While that’s for OpenAI employees, Satya Nadella has already hired Altman to head the software developer's new internal artificial intelligence unit. Greg Brockman will join Altman at Microsoft that will move “quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success," CEO Nadella has said in a post on X.
In fact earlier on November 18, a person by the username Alex Cohen had posted that he found another job in nine hours after being laid off from OpenAI along with my boss Sam. “I was the person in charge of putting together the presentations for our board meetings. No one has told me why I was let go but Sam texted me “wtf” and next thing I know my Slack and Gmail were disabled. I’m now looking for a new role, so if you’re hiring for investor relations, my DMs are open!” Few hours later, he tweeted that he has accepted a new role as lead AI researcher at http://roofer.com.
But can Altman go back to OpenAI? In a post on X late November 18, Altman wrote, “i love the openai team so much.” Brockman, who quit the company after the board removed him as chairman alongside the ouster of Altman, reposted the comment with a heart symbol. Other OpenAI employees did the same.