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11 People Resigned From OpenAI Before And After The GPT4-O Release And Ilya Sutskever’s Departure

The news of OpenAI cofounder Ilya Sutskever’s departure from the company this week seemed somewhat expected, especially after he played a key role in the temporary removal of Sam Altman from the CEO position six months ago.

However, his exit and his significant contribution to the company have sparked curiosity among observers regarding what lies ahead for OpenAI.

Sutskever was the most recent employee to leave the prominent artificial intelligence company specializing in generative technology.

His departure and release of GPT4-O add to a series of resignations within the company. While his exit may have been influenced by the events of the November revolt, many other departing employees have chosen to leave more quietly.

The reasons behind the significant number of departures remain fuzzy. Is it the release of GPT4 O without safety concerns or is it something else?

It might stem from contrasting views on the product’s direction, tempting job opportunities from rival companies, or simply burnout resulting from the demanding hours and pace typical of a startup environment.

Let’s delve into some notable departures that have occurred in recent months.

11 People Resigned From OpenAI Before And After The GPT4-O Release And Ilya Sutskever's Departure

People Who Resigned From OpenAI

Ilya Sutskevar

Sutskever was a co-founder and the chief scientist at OpenAI. After his involvement in the attempted coup of Altman, it is unclear whether he was asked to leave or departed voluntarily.

Altman publicly praised Sutskever, referring to him as “undoubtedly one of the most brilliant minds of our generation” and acknowledging that “OpenAI owes much of its success to him.”

Sutskever announced on X (formerly Twitter) that he intends to focus on a forthcoming project of great personal significance, details of which he will reveal in the near future.

Jan Leike

Shortly after Sutskever’s departure was made public, Jan Leike, a co-leader within the company’s superalignment team, also declared his resignation from the organization.

He, alongside Sutskever, was tasked with guaranteeing that the company’s AI systems were in line with human interests. Last year, he was honored by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential individuals in AI.

Evan Morikawa

Morikawa, a lead engineer at OpenAI, revealed his decision to leave the company after 3.5 years on Wednesday. He intends to launch a new project alongside experts from Boston Dynamics and DeepMind.

Morikawa expressed his enthusiasm for this new attempt, believing it is crucial for achieving AGI globally. He indicated that more details about this initiative will be shared soon on Twitter.

His departure seems agreeable, as he mentioned in a subsequent tweet that his time at OpenAI has been incredibly fulfilling and he is looking forward to the future of the organization.

Daniel Kokotajlo

Kokotajlo, who used to be part of the safety team at OpenAI, parted ways with the company in February.

Recently, he shared his concerns about OpenAI on the online platform LessWrong, mentioning that he left because he became unsure of the organization’s responsible conduct as AGI approaches.

Logan Kilpatrick

Having been a prominent figure at OpenAI, Kilpatrick made a switch to head the product department at Google’s AI studio two months ago.

In a recent interview with The Next Wave, he mentioned that changes within the company during his tenure played a role in his decision to leave.

He highlighted the rapid expansion that altered OpenAI’s operational strategies. Additionally, he pointed out the diminishing chances to engage directly and create a meaningful influence as OpenAI expanded.

William Saunders

In February, Saunders resigned from his role as a manager at the superalignment group. He chose not to elaborate on the reasons for his departure in his posts on the LessWrong forum.

Leopold Aschenbrenner

Aschenbrenner was also part of the superalignment team, collaborating with Leike and Sutskever. However, his departure was not voluntary.

In April, he was dismissed for reportedly sharing information with journalists, as reported by The Information.

Pavel Izmailov

As reported, Izmailov and Aschenbrenner were both let go from their positions simultaneously.

They were known to be close associates of Sutskever. Interestingly, neither of them was among the employees who expressed support for Altman during his temporary removal from the company last year.

Diane Yoon

At the beginning of May, Yoon departed from her role as the vice president of people at OpenAI. Although no specific reason was provided for her resignation, Yoon was one of the company’s most long-standing managers.

Chris Clark

Similar to Yoon, Clark left OpenAI at the beginning of the month. He was the head of nonprofit and strategic initiatives during his time there.

His departure happened just over six months after he shared on X, “Nearly 8 years at OpenAI, and I’ve never felt prouder to be part of this team. We stayed together through it all and came out even stronger.”

Andrej Karpathy

Karpathy, a co-founder of OpenAI, previously left the company but returned in February 2023.

After a year, he left again, stating in a tweet that his departure was not due to any specific event or issue.

He mentioned his intention to focus on personal projects, such as developing an AI assistant, a project he is passionate about.

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