OpenAI Co-Founder and Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever Departs Amid AI Boom

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Ilya Sutskever, the co-founder and chief scientist of OpenAI, the startup at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution, has announced his departure from the company. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman acknowledged Sutskever’s pivotal role in the company’s success, stating, “OpenAI would not be what it is without him.”

OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, has gained significant attention for its popular ChatGPT chatbot, which sparked a race among major tech companies to establish dominance in the emerging field of generative AI. Jakub Pachocki, who previously served as OpenAI’s director of research and led the development of GPT-4 and OpenAI Five, has been appointed as the company’s new chief scientist. In a message posted on the platform X (formerly Twitter), Sutskever expressed his decision to leave OpenAI after nearly a decade, saying, “After almost a decade, I have made the decision to leave OpenAI.” He further stated that he is working on a new project “that is very personally meaningful to me about which I will share details in due time.”

Sutskever played a key role in the dramatic firing and rehiring of Sam Altman as OpenAI’s CEO in November of the previous year. Initially, Sutskever, who was on the board of OpenAI at the time, helped orchestrate Altman’s firing. However, days later, he reversed course, signing an employee letter demanding Altman’s return and expressing regret for his “participation in the board’s actions.” After Altman’s reinstatement, Sutskever was removed from the board, and his position at the company became unclear.

Sutskever’s departure comes a day after OpenAI announced at an event on Monday that it would release a new AI model called GPT-4o, capable of realistic voice conversation and able to interact across texts and images. Since its launch in late 2022, ChatGPT has been hailed as the fastest application ever to reach 100 million monthly active users. However, according to analytics firm Similarweb, worldwide traffic to ChatGPT‘s website has experienced fluctuations over the past year and is only now returning to its May 2023 peak. As OpenAI continues to push the boundaries of artificial intelligence, Sutskever’s departure marks the end of an era for one of the company’s founding members, while the arrival of Pachocki as the new chief scientist ushers in a new chapter for the AI pioneer.

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