In a letter, they question the board’s competence, and accuse it of undermining the firm’s work.

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Senior staff are among the many signatories.

The sacking on Friday of Mr Altman, one of the leading figures in artificial intelligence (AI), shocked the tech world.

One of the board members involved in his dismissal, OpenAI’s chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, has said on X, formerly Twitter, that he made a mistake.

“Now 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”, he posted.

Mr Sutskever has signed the letter calling for the board – on which he sits – to be dismissed.

In a fast moving and chaotic series of events over the weekend it seemed briefly that Mr Altman might get his job back, only for it to be announced he was joining Microsoft, a major funder of OpenAI.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella wrote on X, that Mr Altman would be leading “a new advanced AI research team”.

Meanwhile, ex-Twitch CEO Emmett Shear will become OpenAI’s new interim boss.

Writing on X, he called the job a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

But he added the way Mr Altman had been sacked was “handled very badly” and “seriously damaged our trust”.

Mr Altman, 38, helped launch the firm – best known for creating the popular ChatGPT bot – and has become one of the most influential figures in the fast-growing generative artificial intelligence (AI) space.

The sacking of such a high profile figure surprised industry watchers, and angered many in the company he’d led – culminating in them demanding the board members resign.

Responding to the post by Microsoft boss Mr Nadella confirming his new job, but before the letter was published, Mr Altman posted “the mission continues”.

‘Embarrassing circus’

Dan Ives of investment firm Wedbush Securities says Microsoft has ended up being strengthened – but the episode reflected badly on OpenAI.

They were “at the kid’s poker table and thought they won until Nadella and Microsoft took this all over in a World Series of Poker move for the ages”, he wrote.

“The embarrassing circus show over the weekend at OpenAI was finally taken over by the adults in the room.”

OpenAI’s new boss Emmett Shear is the former head and co-founder of video streaming service Twitch. A memo to OpenAI’s staff said he had a “unique mix of skills, expertise and relationships that will drive OpenAI forward”.

In spite of now being at the helm of one of the world’s most powerful AI companies – and being a self-described “techno-optimist” – Mr Shear has expressed concerns about what he sees as the potential existential threat posed by the technology.

“It’s like someone invented a way to make 10x [ten times] more powerful fusion bombs out of sand and bleach, that anyone could do at home”, he told the Logan Bartlett Show podcast in June.

The exact reasons for Mr Altman’s sacking by the board remain unclear.

On Friday, when OpenAI announced it was firing Mr Altman, it accused him of not being “consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities” – but did not specify what he is alleged to have not been candid about.

Mr Shear has addressed some of the speculation on the subject.

“The board did *not* remove Sam over any specific disagreement on safety, their reasoning was completely different from that. I’m not crazy enough to take this job without board support for commercializing our awesome models”, he wrote on X.

The mention of safety could suggest that this was not a disagreement about the management of the risks AI may pose, though the words are open to interpretation.

But Mr Shear committed to hiring an independent investigator “to dig into the entire process”.

Media :
Writter: Chris Vallance, Annabelle Liang & Zoe Kleinman

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