OpenAI Faces Employee Resignations Amid Governance Concerns

OpenAI Faces Employee Resignations Amid Governance Concerns

Elena Delgado
2 min read

OpenAI Faces Internal Discord as Key Employees Resign

Two key employees, Daniel Kokotajlo and William Saunders, have recently stepped down from their positions at OpenAI, the influential company responsible for ChatGPT. Kokotajlo, who specialized in governance and served as an adversarial tester for GPT-4, departed due to concerns about OpenAI's responsible conduct regarding AGI. On the other hand, Saunders, a member of the Alignment team for three years, also chose to resign. Their departures come in the wake of two senior executive resignations and the termination of two researchers within the last month. Despite these significant personnel changes, OpenAI has remained silent on the matter.

Key Takeaways

  • Two crucial employees at OpenAI, specializing in safety and governance, have resigned from their roles at the company overseeing ChatGPT.
  • Daniel Kokotajlo, who contributed to the governance team, left due to apprehensions about OpenAI's responsible behavior regarding AGI.
  • William Saunders, a member of the Alignment team since 2021, also decided to resign after three years at OpenAI.
  • The resignations of Kokotajlo and Saunders coincide with the departure of other members of the Superalignment team.
  • The Superalignment team focuses on creating protective measures to prevent artificial general intelligence from becoming unmanageable.
  • OpenAI has chosen not to respond to requests for comments regarding these resignations.


The departure of two employees responsible for safety and governance at OpenAI, accompanied by other recent resignations, signals internal discord concerning the ethical development of artificial general intelligence (AGI). This discord may potentially hinder or even halt the progress of OpenAI in the AGI field, impacting its credibility and investor trust. Moreover, the concerns raised by the departing employees might trigger scrutiny from regulators, influencing not just OpenAI but the entire AI industry. The loss of these essential personnel could undermine the effectiveness of OpenAI's Superalignment team, crucial for establishing safeguards against AGI acting against human interests. The future of OpenAI and the AI sector depends on how these challenges are managed.

Did You Know?

  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): AGI refers to a form of artificial intelligence capable of comprehending, learning, and applying knowledge across a wide range of tasks at a level equivalent to or surpassing human ability. It represents a theoretical type of AI that is yet to exist but is a subject of extensive research and development in the AI field.
  • Governance team: In the context of a tech organization like OpenAI, the governance team is tasked with ensuring that the company's technology is developed and used responsibly and ethically. This encompasses formulating policies and procedures to handle potential risks and adverse consequences associated with the technology.
  • Superalignment team: This team within OpenAI concentrates on creating protective measures to prevent AGI from behaving in a rogue manner. This involves devising methods to guarantee that AGI aligns with human values and objectives, posing no threat to human safety or well-being.

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