OpenAI Co-Founder Is Out, Months After Leading 'Failed Coup'

Ilya Sutskever says he'll be working on a 'personally meaningful' project next
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2024 1:30 AM CDT
OpenAI Co-Founder Is Out, Months After Leading 'Failed Coup'
The OpenAI logo is displayed on a cell phone with an image on a computer monitor generated by ChatGPT's Dall-E text-to-image model, Dec. 8, 2023, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Another shakeup at OpenAI: Ilya Sutskever, who was, alongside Sam Altman, among the co-founders of the artificial intelligence startup, is leaving the company. He will be replaced as chief scientist by Jakub Pachocki, currently OpenAI's research director, NBC News reports. "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," Sutskever posted on X Tuesday. Late last year, OpenAI underwent what NBC refers to as a "leadership crisis," which saw Altman ousted as CEO and then rehired within days. (And many of the board members who'd voted to push Altman out found themselves pushed off the board.) Sutskever was among those who voted to oust Altman, though he quickly said he regretted that move, the Wall Street Journal reports.

At the time, it was reported that while Sutskever was focused on ensuring AI did not harm humans, Altman and others at the company were focused on innovation and new tech, and that, due to his own issues with Altman, it was Sutskever who initiated the discussions that ultimately led to the CEO's (brief) termination. Despite all that, however, Altman said at the time that he hoped to work with Sutskever for the rest of his career, and in a statement Tuesday after Sutskever announced his departure, he said he was "very sad." But the Journal says Sutskever never meaningfully returned to work after the Altman drama, and that Pachocki has already been informally leading the research division during that time. As the Verge puts it, "Who didn't see this coming" after Sutskever's "failed coup" attempt. Another exec, Jan Leike, also resigned Tuesday. (More OpenAI stories.)

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