OpenAI Employees Warn of a Culture of Risk and Retaliation

A group of current and former OpenAI employees have issued a public letter warning that the company and its rivals are building artificial intelligence with undue risk, without sufficient oversight, and while muzzling employees who might witness irresponsible activities. The letter, published at, highlights concerns about the further entrenchment of existing inequalities, manipulation, misinformation, and the potential loss of control of autonomous AI systems that could lead to human extinction.

The employees are calling for AI companies, including OpenAI, to commit to not punishing employees who speak out about their activities. They also urge companies to establish “verifiable” ways for workers to provide anonymous feedback on their activities. The letter emphasizes the need for accountability in the absence of effective government oversight of these corporations.

OpenAI faced criticism after reports that the company threatened to claw back employees’ equity if they did not sign non-disparagement agreements. CEO Sam Altman denied knowledge of such arrangements and stated that the clause would be removed to allow employees to speak out freely. The company did not respond to requests for comments.

Recent changes at OpenAI include the dissolution of a research group responsible for assessing long-term AI risks and the formation of a Safety and Security Committee. The letter’s signatories, which include current and former employees, as well as prominent AI researchers, aim to push for greater transparency and accountability in the development of AI technologies.

Former OpenAI employees who signed the letter expressed concerns about the pace at which AI technology is advancing and the lack of oversight to ensure responsible development. They believe that the proposed measures could lead to reforms in policies across AI companies, not just at OpenAI.

As the field of AI continues to evolve rapidly, the letter underscores the importance of addressing risks and ensuring ethical practices in AI development. The call for transparency and accountability resonates with ongoing discussions about the societal impact of AI technologies and the need for ethical guidelines to govern their use.