Ilya Sutskever, co-founder of OpenAI, says he is leaving the startup

Sam Altman (left), American entrepreneur, investor, programmer, founder and CEO of artificial intelligence company OpenAI, and company co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, speak together at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv on June 5, 2023.

Jacques Guise | AFP | Getty Images

Ilya Sutskever, co-founder of OpenAI, said Tuesday that he is leaving the Microsoft-backed startup.

“I am excited about what comes next, a project of great personal importance to me and the details of which I will share in due course,” Sutskever wrote in a letter. Share X Tuesday.

The departure comes months after OpenAI suffered a leadership crisis in November involving co-founder and CEO Sam Altman.

In November, OpenAI’s board said in a statement that Altman had not been “consistently candid in his communications with the board.” The case quickly caqme to seem more complicated. the Wall Street Journal Other media outlets reported that Sutskever was focused on ensuring that AI would not harm humans, while others, including Altman, were keen to move forward with introducing new technology.

Almost all of OpenAI’s employees signed an open letter saying they would leave the company in response to the board’s action. Days later, Altman returned to the company, and board members Helen Toner, Tasha McCauley and Sutskever, who voted to fire Altman, exited. Adam D’Angelo, who also voted to fire Altman, remains on the board.

When Altman was asked about Sutskever’s condition on a Zoom call with reporters at the time, he said there were no updates to share. “I love Elijah… I hope we work together for the rest of our career, my career, whatever,” Altman said. “There is nothing to announce today.”

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On Tuesday, Altman shared his thoughts during Sutskever’s departure.

“This is deeply saddening to me; Elijah is easily one of the greatest minds of our generation, a guiding light of our field, and a dear friend,” Altman wrote. On X. “His brilliance and vision are well known; his warmth and compassion are less well known but no less important.” Research director Jacob Paczucki, who has worked at OpenAI since 2017, will replace Sutskever as chief scientist, Altman said.

OpenAI has announced new board members, including former Salesforce co-CEO Brett Taylor and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Microsoft was given an observer position on the board of directors without a vote.

In March, OpenAI announced its new board of directors and the conclusion of an internal investigation by US law firm WilmerHale into the events leading up to Altman’s ouster. Altman returned to the OpenAI Board of Directors, and three new board members were announced: Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellman, former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Nicole Seligman, former executive vice president and global general counsel of Sony Corporation and president of Sony Entertainment; and Fidji Simo, CEO and President of Instacart.

The three new members will work “closely with current board members Adam D’Angelo, Larry Summers and Brett Taylor as well as Greg, Sam and OpenAI’s senior management,” according to a company statement in March.

News of Sutskever’s departure comes one day after OpenAI launched a new AI model and desktop version of ChatGPT, along with a refreshed user interface, the company’s latest effort to expand the use of its popular chatbot.

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The update brings GPT-4 to everyone, including free OpenAI users, chief technology officer Mira Moratti said Monday in a live-streamed event. She added that the new model, GPT-4o, is “much faster” with improved text, video and audio capabilities. OpenAI said it eventually plans to allow users to video chat with ChatGPT.

“This is the first time we have taken a big step forward when it comes to ease of use,” Moratti said.

In 2015, Altman and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, another OpenAI co-founder, wanted Sutskever, then a research scientist at Google, to become the startup’s top scientist, according to a lawsuit Musk filed against OpenAI in March .

“Dr. Sutskever repeatedly debated whether to leave Google and join the project, but in the end it was a call from Mr. Musk on the day OpenAI, Inc. was announced publicly that convinced Dr. Sutskever to commit to joining the project. In the legal filing: “Chief Scientist at OpenAI, Inc.”

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