Ilya Sutskever Quits OpenAI


Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s co-founder and chief scientist, announced he was leaving the company on Tuesday. OpenAI confirmed the departure in a press release. Sutskever’s official exit comes nearly six months after he helped lead an effort with other board members to fire CEO Sam Altman, the move backfired days later.

“After almost a decade, I have made the decision to leave OpenAI,” said Sutskever via a tweet on Tuesday afternoon. “I am excited for what comes next — a project that is very personally meaningful to me about which I will share details in due time.”

“Ilya and OpenAI are going to part ways,” said Altman in a tweet shortly after. “This is very sad to me; Ilya is easily one of the greatest minds of our generation, a guiding light of our field, and a dear friend.”

Altman went on to say that Jakub Pachocki, a senior researcher on Sutskever’s team, would be replacing him as OpenAI’s Chief Scientist. Sutskever notes an undisclosed project that is very “meaningful” to him moving forward. It’s unclear at this time what that project is.

Jan Leike, another OpenAI executive who worked with Sutskever on safeguarding future AI, also resigned on Tuesday, according to The Information. Leike and Sutskever led OpenAI’s superalignment team, charged with the grandiose task of making sure the company’s super-powerful AI does not turn against humans.

For the last six months, Sutskever’s status has been unclear at OpenAI. When Altman returned to the company in late Nov. of 2023, he said this on Sutskever: “we hope to continue our working relationship and are discussing how he can continue his work at OpenAI.” Sutskever was the only member of OpenAI left in limbo at the time—neither fired nor rehired.

Since then, Altman has refused to answer questions about Sutskever’s status at the company in multiple interviews. We barely heard from Sutskever himself during this time period. This is Sutskever’s first tweet in over five months, and OpenAI’s chief scientist was missing from major announcements such as Sora and this week’s GPT-4 Omni.

Earlier this year, founding OpenAI member Andrej Karpathy left the company. In that case as well, Karpathy did not provide a particular reason for his exit, and later described that he would work on personal projects.

Sutskever posted a photo with OpenAI leaders Altman, Mira Murati, Greg Brockman, and Jakub Pachocki shortly after announcing his exit. Severa; featured in the photo posted kind messages about Sutskever’s tenure at OpenAI, praising the well-renowned scientist for his contributions to the artificial intelligence world.



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