ChatGPT architect Ilya Sutskever splits with OpenAI amid corporate infighting

by alex

Sutskever announced his resignation from the company after an unsuccessful attempt to remove Sam Altman from the post of CEO

Ilya Sutskever, co-founder and former chief scientist of OpenAI, has left the company. This comes after a failed attempt last November to remove CEO Sam Altman from leadership.

As reported on the OpenAI blog, Dr. Sutzkever's departure marks the closing of another chapter in history that has called into question the readiness of Altman and his company to lead the technology industry in the age of artificial intelligence.

Just five days after his suspension, Altman returned to OpenAI, regaining control of the company and continuing on a path to building powerful AI models that has raised concerns among some critics. Dr. Sutskever formally remained an employee, but never returned to his workplace.

«This is an emotional day for all of us. Without him, OpenAI would not exist and, of course, was created by him», — Altman stated in an interview.

In his statement, Sutskever noted: «I have decided to leave OpenAI. The company's trajectory has been nothing short of wonderful, and I am confident that OpenAI will create an AGI [artificial general intelligence] that is both safe and useful. The 38-year-old scientist added that he was starting a new project, but did not disclose details.

Key researcher Jakub Pachocki will take over as chief scientist at OpenAI, which is currently valued at more than $80 billion.

OpenAI on Monday unveiled a new version of its ChatGPT chatbot capable of understanding and responding to voice commands, images and videos, joining the tech giants' race to create a new generation of talking digital assistants.

Founded in 2015 by Altman, Elon Musk and a group of young researchers including Sutskever, OpenAI is at the forefront of AI research. Sutskever's participation instantly brought credibility to the company — While still a graduate student at the University of Toronto, he contributed to the neural network breakthroughs that have contributed to advances in AI over the past decade.

At the end of 2022, the release of the online chatbot ChatGPT, capable of answering questions, writing poetry, generating code and communicating almost like a human, shocked the world. The tech industry has quickly embraced generative AI — technologies that independently generate text, images and other media data.

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Generative AI, the result of more than a decade of research at OpenAI, Google and other companies, has the potential to transform interactions from email programs and Internet search engines to digital assistants.

Sam Altman has become a leader in the transition to generative AI, testifying before the US Congress and meeting with legislators, regulators and investors around the world. However, in November, OpenAI's board of directors unexpectedly fired him, saying he could no longer be trusted with the company's plan to create artificial general intelligence.

The board of directors consisted of six people: three founders and three independent members. Sutzkever voted with the independent members to remove Altman from his positions as CEO and chairman of the board, accusing him of lack of candor, without going into detail.

Greg Brockman, president of OpenAI, and Jakub Pachocki, lead researcher, left the company in protest. As hundreds of employees threatened to quit, Sutzkever said he regretted the decision to remove Altman, effectively resigning from the board and leaving three independent members in opposition to him.

Altman returned as CEO after he and the board agreed to replace two members with Salesforce's Bret Taylor and former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. A few months later, Altman regained his seat on the expanded seven-member council.

In 2022, Sutskever helped create the Super Alignment team at OpenAI to explore ways to make future versions of AI technology safe from harm. Like other experts, he became increasingly concerned that AI could become a danger to humanity.

Jan Leitke, co-director of Super Alignment, also left OpenAI. His role will be taken over by another co-founder of the company, John Shulman.

A few weeks before Altman was fired, Pachocki, who had overseen the creation of the GPT-4 technology that underpins ChatGPT, was named director of research and promoted to a position next to Sutskever.

After Altman's reinstatement, Sutskever never returned to the company, although Altman hoped to negotiate his return.

Pakhotsky has actually held the position of chief scientist since November. He was among the key investigators on key OpenAI projects, including GPT-4, after Sutzkever brought him and others into the company.

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