Andrej Karpathy is leaving OpenAI again — but he says there was no drama

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Andrej Karpathy, a widely respected research scientist, announced today that he has left OpenAI. This is the second time Karpathy has left the top AI firm and his departure is not because of any event, issue or drama, he said.

Karpathy, a founding member of OpenAI, initially left the company to join Tesla in 2017. He left Tesla, where he led the autopilot team, in 2022 and rejoined OpenAI almost a year ago. Karpathy has also built an immense following on social media and YouTube, posting thought-provoking writings on the nascent space and videos that explain the inner workings of AI.

"Hi everyone yes, I left OpenAI yesterday. First of all nothing 'happened' and it’s not a result of any particular event, issue or drama (but please keep the conspiracy theories coming as they are highly entertaining :))," Karpathy said.

"Actually, being at OpenAI over the last ~year has 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. 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 of what that might look like."

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Karpathy's departure, first reported by The Information, follows a tumultuous year at OpenAI where Sam Altman was briefly ousted as the CEO before being reinstated in a high-drama week. The company told TechCrunch that Karpathy's responsibilities were transferred to another researcher, who it didn't name.

"Andrej is departing to pursue personal projects. We are deeply grateful for his contributions and wish him the best. His responsibilities have transitioned to a senior researcher who worked closely alongside Andrej," a spokesperson said in a statement.

Karpathy's X bio, which has now been changed, read "building kind of a J.A.R.V.I.S at @OpenAI," indicating that he was working on a project related to AI assistants at the company.

Earlier this year, he explained the rationale behind writing this. He said that he wanted to write a term to capture a helpful and conversational AI.

"I name JARVIS in general terms only, as one of my favorite popular portrayals of an AI — a helpful, conversational, empowering e/ia automation. An aid against evil and entropy," he said.