Hundreds of staff at leading artificial intelligence company OpenAI have threatened to quit and join Microsoft after the sudden firing of the company’s co-founder Sam Altman.
The OpenAI staff said they would follow Altman, who said he would be starting an artificial intelligence (AI) subsidiary at Microsoft after his surprise removal from the company that created the ChatGPT chatbot, which led to the rapid rise in AI tech.
In a letter, some of OpenAI’s most senior staff members threatened to leave the company if the board was not replaced.
“The process through which you terminated Sam Altman and removed [co-founder and former president] Greg Brockman from the board has jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and company,” the letter, first released to the technology news outlet Wired, reads.
“Your conduct has made it clear you did not have the competence to oversee OpenAI”.
“Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join.”
According to reports, as many as 500 of OpenAI’s 770 employees signed the letter.
The company’s board sacked Altman on Friday after concerns that he was underestimating the dangers of its tech and leading the company away from its stated mission.
OpenAI appointed Emmett Shear, a former chief executive of Amazon’s streaming platform Twitch, as its new CEO, the third in as many days.