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Open AI Co-Founder and Science Chief to Step Down

OpenAI’s lead scientist and co-founder says it is time for him to move on.

Ilya Sutskever, who took part in an unsuccessful effort to remove co-founder and CEO Sam Altman last year, announced his resignation from the artificial intelligence (AI) giant on Twitter Tuesday (May 15) evening.

“After almost a decade, I have made the decision to leave OpenAI,” Sutskever wrote. 

“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 [Altman, President Greg Brockman and Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati].”

“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,” he added.

Last fall, Sutskever was part of an attempt to remove Altman from the company, with the then-board arguing he had not been “candid” in his communications with them. 

His departure was short-lived, however. Staff members threatened to quit and investors – including Microsoft, OpenAI’s main partner and benefactor – sided with Altman. He was reinstated within a matter of days.

Sutskever later wrote that he regretted his part in the incident, and Altman on Tuesday had nothing but kind words for his out-going colleague.

“His brilliance and vision are well known; his warmth and compassion are less well known but no less important,” Altman wrote.

“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.”

Sutskever’s departure comes as OpenAI is rolling out its new GPT-4o AI model. PYMNTS examined the model’s potential to enhance real-time voice interactions in a report Tuesday.

PYMNTS Intelligence has found a steady increase in the use of voice assistants, with millions of people turning to the technology and leading tech tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple to invest heavily in building more advanced voice assistant technologies.

“The release of GPT-4o signals OpenAI’s commitment to staying at the forefront of the voice assistant industry as competition among tech companies intensifies,” that report said.

“The impact of GPT-4o and other advanced voice assistant technologies on businesses and consumers remains to be seen. Still, experts predict these developments will increase efficiency, personalization and accessibility across various sectors.”