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OpenAI’s Co-Founder And Chief Scientist, Ilya Sutskever, Departs Company

OpenAI chief Scientist and co-founder, Ilya Sutskever, is departing the company and will be replaced by Research Director Jakub Pachocki. Pachocki led the development of the company’s GPT-4 AI model.

The departure of Sutskever was rumoured to be imminent after he voted in favour of removing Sam Altman as chief executive and chairman of OpenAI nearly six months ago.

Altman retained the position of CEO after a brief ouster from the company in November.

Sutskever said that he regretted participating in Altman’s ouster. After Altman returned to the company, in a blog post on OpenAI, he said Sutskever wouldn’t go back to his former post as a board member, though he harbours “zero ill will” towards him. He also revealed that the company was “discussing how he [Sutskever] can continue his work at OpenAI.”

On Tuesday this week, after news of Sutskever’s departure broke, Altman in another blog post on OpenAI, heaped praise on Sutskever. “Ilya and OpenAI are going to part ways. 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. His brilliance and vision are well known; his warmth and compassion are less well known but no less important.

“OpenAI would not be what it is without him. Although he has something personally meaningful he is going to go work on, I am forever grateful for what he did here and committed to finishing the mission we started together. I am happy that for so long I got to be close to such genuinely remarkable genius, and someone so focused on getting to the best future for humanity,” said Altman in the post.

Details of what Sutskever will do next are unclear, with the scientist taking to X to confirm the latest developments. “After almost a decade, I have made the decision to leave OpenAI. The company’s trajectory has been nothing short of miraculous, and I’m confident that OpenAI will build AGI that is both safe and beneficial under the leadership of [Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, Mira Murati,] and now, under the excellent research leadership of [Jakub Pachocki]. 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.”

When OpenAI was founded in 2015, Sutskever was recruited by Elon Musk to join the company as its research director.

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