Andrej Karpathy Departs from OpenAI (again)

Megh Mehta
3 min readFeb 15, 2024

Andrej Karpathy, mostly known as a renowned Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Computer Vision engineer, has officially announced on Twitter that he has left OpenAI. He even claimed that “nothing has happened” and that his leaving is not of particular issue.

Here’s his Twitter post.

Who is Andrej Karpathy and why does it matter?

Andrej Karpathy pursued his Computer Science bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia respectively, before pursuing his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University.

He got into Deep Learning, Convolutional Neural Networks, and Natural Language Processing as early as 2011, making him one of the earliest creators in the field of AI.

While his PhD at Stanford he did internships at AI projects lesser known back in the day but getting very prominent in today’s world. He worked on Google’s Deep Mind and other AI projects back in 2011–2015. He even worked on training large-scale YouTube videos in the reinforcement learning team.

Whatever AI hype you see now in 2024, Andrej Karpathy had contributed to it a decade earlier.

And when you think of OpenAI, Sam Altman comes to your mind. But did you know Andrej Karpathy was one of the founding members of the company?

He worked as a research scientist at OpenAI from 2015–2017.

What happened after that?

Remember, back in 2018–2019, there was an Elon Musk and Tesla hype. You guessed it right!

Andrej Karpathy worked at Tesla for 5 years during that time in the Autopilot team. He was one of the key members of Tesla’s development during that time.

Here’s his contribution to Tesla

I was the Sr. Director of AI at Tesla, where I led the computer vision team of Tesla Autopilot. This includes in-house data labeling, neural network training, the science of making it work, and deployment in production running on our custom inference chip. Today, the Autopilot increases the safety and convenience of driving, but the team’s goal is to develop and deploy Full Self-Driving to our rapidly growing fleet of millions of cars. Our Aug 2021 Tesla AI Day provides the most detailed and up-to-date overview of this effort.

Now let’s jump to 2023, when the OpenAI and ChatGPT hype was back. Andrej Karpathy joined OpenAI back in 2023.

Source: karpathy.ai

And now Karpathy broke the news that he has left OpenAI. No one knows the reason. But does it have to do anything with the drama that happened in late 2023?

Whatever the reason maybe, between the mystery surrounding Ilya Sutskever and now Karpathy’s departure, something seems fishy between the science and business arms of OpenAI. All eyes now turn to where Karpathy heads next. Would he go to Perpeplxity or Gemini and beat ChatGPT?

Time will tell⌛

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Megh Mehta

Innovating SaaS products; Machine Learning enthusiast