Andrej Karpathy says he might return to Tesla for ‘Act 2’Tesla most known engineer who is part of the company’s developments over years, Andrej Karpathy left the company not long ago. Now, he says that he could go back to Tesla to work on Optimus robot and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Karpathy has been part of Tesla for more than five years.
He has been with the company as a neural and computer vision expert and was present throughout from using Mobileye’s technology to its own system by computer vision. The engineer is credited for building Tesla’s machine learning and computer vision team. He quickly rose through the ranks and became a big part of Tesla’s Autopilot team and the automaker’s effort to develop a full self-driving system. As Tesla expanded its effort from self-driving to broader artificial intelligence, Karpathy was promoted to senior director of AI at Tesla.
In March, Karpathy announced that he was going on sabbatical for four months. At the time, we reported that it was worrisome since Tesla executives taking breaks has most often resulted in them not coming back. Karpathy announced in July that he was not coming back to Tesla to focus on his “long-term passions around technical work in AI, open source, and education.”
On the Lex Fridman podcast this weekend, the engineer elaborated on why he left Tesla. Karpathy said that his role had grown too managerial and consisted of too many meetings rather than actual engineering. Karpathy also added that he could see himself coming back to Tesla in the future. “It was difficult because I love Tesla, I love Elon, I love the team really. I would actually be interested in revisiting [Tesla] – may be coming back at some point, maybe to work on Optimus or AGI at Tesla. I think Tesla is going to do incredible things. It’s a massive large-scale robotics company with in-house talent doing incredible things.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded on Twitter by saying that the engineer would “always be welcome at Tesla.”
The former AI Director highlighted that when he left Tesla, he felt that his team was already autonomous. He also noted that he personally still wanted to learn and teach things, but he was mostly serving as a manager in the electric vehicle maker prior to his departure. Considering his comments, however, it appears that Karpathy is definitely open to coming back. During AI Day 2022, Musk personally pointed a joke at Karpathy, who ended up drinking a bit too much due to the Tesla CEO’s “Software 2.0” joke.