OpenAI Co-founder Ilya Sutskever Unexpectedly Leaves the AI Company

  • Sutskever, who specializes in machine learning, shared his decision on his social media accounts on Tuesday.

  • He’ll now devote his time to a new project, although the details are still unknown.

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Ilya Sutskever is leaving OpenAI. The co-founder of the AI company announced on Tuesday that he’ll be embarking on a new phase in his professional career. Starting now, Sutskever will dedicate his time and effort to a new project. Although the details are still unknown, we do know that the project is “very personally meaningful” to him.

The decision comes a day after OpenAI unveiled its new GPT-4o model, one of the most promising innovations in the technology industry at the moment. “It was an honor and a privilege to have worked together, and I will miss everyone dearly,” Sutskever stated on his X account.

Sutskever Says Goodbye to OpenAI After Nearly a Decade

In his farewell message, the Russian-born machine learning specialist praised OpenAI’s impressive track record, saying that “the company’s trajectory has been nothing short of miraculous.” In addition, he expressed confidence in the company’s ability to “build AGI [artificial general intelligence, or human-level AI] that is both safe and beneficial under the leadership of Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, and Mira Murati.”

Sustskever also highlighted the important role of Jakub Pachocki, a less publicly known but brilliant scientist who's been serving as an OpenAI research leader since the end of 2023. During this time, the company faced a corporate crisis that attracted a slew of media attention.

Several OpenAI members took to social media to react to the announcement. Altman described Sutskever as “one of the greatest minds of our generation” and mentioned that Pachocki would be the company’s new chief scientist. Brockman referred to the co-founder as “an artist.”

Sutskever’s Role During OpenAI’s Leadership Crisis

Sutskever’s name may be familiar to many readers, especially those who followed the events surrounding Altman’s ousting last year. This is because Sutskever was one of the board members who voted in favor of firing him.

Openai 1 Sutskever shared this image after the announcement.

Altman's departure caused significant turmoil within the AI company and led to the resignation of several employees, including Brockman. This also had implications at Microsoft, a company that has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI, and prompted CEO Satya Nadella to issue a statement.

Days later, Sutskever issued an apology, expressing deep regret for his involvement in the board’s actions and clarifying that he never intended to harm OpenAI. With Altman’s return to the firm, Sutskever stepped down from his board seat and expressed a desire to continue his working relationship with OpenAI.

It’s unclear whether Sutskever ever returned to work at OpenAI after the crisis, but he's kept a very low profile since then. In fact, he was one of the notable absences at the company's presentation of GPT-4o on Monday. Despite it all, the team gathered for the farewell photo above.

Image | Open AI [1, 2]

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