Jan Leike And Ilya Sutskever Abruptly Resign From OpenAI

Two senior researchers charged with preventing artificial superintelligence (ASI) from going rogue suddenly announced their resignation from American company OpenAI less than six hours apart.

“After almost a decade, I have made the decision to leave OpenAI,” Ilya Sutskever announced on Twitter at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday. “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,” Sutskever’s announcement continued in part.

Jan Leike’s announcement, by contrast, was terse. “I resigned,” he stated on Twitter at 12:43 a.m. Wednesday.

Sutskever, a co-founder of OpenAI, was the company’s Chief Scientist. Leike was its Head of Alignment, according to OpenAI’s statement. (RELATED: Elon Musk Tells Tucker Carlson AI Could ‘Absolutely’ Take Control Of Civilization)

Chief Scientific Officer Jakub Pachocki has taken over Sutskever’s role, OpenAI announced.

“Ilya – I will miss working with you,” Pachocki said in his response to Sutskever’s announcement. Pachocki also thanked Sutskever for having introduced him to the deep learning research world and for being his mentor and longtime collaborator. He praised Sutskever as one of the founding fathers of the field of AI and for “high-level discussions” and “deeply technical whiteboarding sessions.”

Sutskever expressed confidence that Pachocki, together with OpenAI‘s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sam Altman, President Greg Brockman and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Mira Murati, would steer AI in the right direction.

“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 revealed.

The announcements raised questions among observers.

Kristen Ruby, CEO of Manhattan-based public relations agency Ruby Media Group, tweeted in response to Leike’s announcement, “Why is OpenAI like this[?]”

“[B]ut what did you see?” a user asked Sutskever.

“How much did they pay you to stay silent?” another inquired.

OpenAI had announced the pair’s appointments as lead ASI researchers in a July 2023 statement.

“We need scientific and technical breakthroughs to steer and control AI systems much smarter than us,” the statement’s opening statement reads. “To solve this problem within four years, we’re starting a new team, co-led by Ilya Sutskever and Jan Leike …”

OpenAI tasked the pair’s Superalignment team with harnessing ASI to become “the most impactful technology humanity has ever invented,” potentially helping “solve many of the world’s most important problems.” The pair were to help steer and control ASI, “preventing it from going rogue.”

Leike wrote in a March 2022 article that it might be overambitious to think that there is a “once-and-for-all solution” to the potential problem of AI not doing what it is designed to do.