What's going on in there?

Fool Me Twice

OpenAI has lost yet another of its founders — though in the case of computer vision expert Andrej Karpathy, this is his second exodus.

First reported by The Information and later confirmed by the computer scientist himself on the social network owned by his fellow departed cofounder Elon Musk, Karpathy's exit marks the first major staff shakeup since last November's debacle involving the firing and re-hiring of CEO Sam Altman.

"I left OpenAI yesterday," Karpathy tweeted. "First of all nothing 'happened' and it’s not a result of any particular event, issue or drama."

Back in 2017, Karpathy left OpenAI for the first time to join Tesla as the company's first head of AI, overseeing its Autopilot efforts — which occurred, on the timeline of OpenAI departures, before Musk's exit in 2018 over disagreements about the firm's direction. He stayed at Tesla until the summer of 2022, when he abruptly left that position, and six months later announced on X-formerly-Twitter that he'd be rejoining OpenAI.

But Actually

Though he didn't explicitly mention the elephant in the room, Karpathy referenced in his tweet some "conspiracy theories" about his departure, which he said he found amusing.

Beyond that, it's hard to say whether the "Turkey-Shoot Clusterfuck," as some Microsoft employees called OpenAI's Thanksgiving massacre, had any bearing on the scientist's exit — though per the man itself, his last year at the company had "actually... been really great."

"The team is really strong, the people are wonderful, and the roadmap is very exciting, and I think we all have a lot to look forward to," Karpathy tweeted. "My immediate plan is to work on my personal projects and see what happens. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while may have a sense for what that might look like."

It's surprising that the first major OpenAI exit since the CEO fiasco is Karpathy and not his fellow co-founder Ilya Sutskever, the company's embattled head sciezntist whose position has been in jeopardy since last November's Red Wedding because, you know, he voted to oust Altman.

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