It’s been almost 10 days since the turmoil started within OpenAI.
The company behind the popular ChatGPT is in turmoil after the firing of its CEO, Sam Altman.
After less than a week of controversy, two interim CEOs and a labor strike that threatened to collapse the shares of the technology company, everything is back to zero: Sam Altman has been reinstated to his duties (and should to resign from Microsoft, a job that caught him in record time).
Now, it remains to be seen how the Silicon Valley company ends the controversy. Should they give us an explanation for Altman’s firing? Will AI ever end society as we know it?
There are few details we know about it. But one that emerges strongly is the ultimate responsibility of Ilya Sutskever, co-founder of OpenAI, at the beginning of this soap opera.
Who is Ilya Sutskever?
In 2015, Altman founded the startup with Ilya Sutsveker, Greg Brockman, Elon Musk and a dozen other collaborators.
By that point Sutsveker was already a veteran AI researcher, and now he spends his days as chief scientist at OpenAI.
He was born in the Soviet Union and grew up in Israel. After moving to North America, he played a key role in the development of deep learning and artificial neural networks.
His academic career included a PhD under the supervision of Geoffrey Hinton at the University of Toronto, and as a result he became one of the pioneers of the deep learning renaissance of the last decade.
Additionally, Sutskever co-authored an influential paper presented at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in 2012, addressing the dropout technique to avoid overfitting in neural networks.
But despite his extensive resume, he now finds himself in the middle of controversy over his alleged leadership of the initiative to fire Sam Altman, the company’s co-founder and CEO.
The concern about the development of AI
Throughout his career, Sutskever has not hesitated to express concerns about the risks associated with advanced artificial intelligence.
The latest occasion? In his TED talk given in October of this year:
According to reports from the special portal Axios, Sutskever would have influenced the board of directors, arguing that Altman’s rapid approach to the deployment and commercialization of AI was too risky.
This would have led to the ouster of Altman, who OpenAI said was not “always forthright” with the board, affecting his ability to fulfill his responsibilities.
Regret and reaction
Amid the controversy, Sutskever expressed regret for his involvement in the process that resulted in Altman’s firing.
From his X account he shared: “I am very sorry for my participation in the actions of the board. I never meant to harm OpenAI. “I love everything we’ve built and will do everything I can to bring the company together.”
Altman responded to this post with heart. The gesture of gratitude is similar to his previous responses to employees who expressed support.