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Former OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever Starts New AI Company

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 21, 2024

Former OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever Starts New AI Company

Ilya Sutskever, co-founder and former chief scientist of OpenAI, is launching a new AI venture named Safe Superintelligence Inc. (SSI). This startup is singularly focused on developing a safe and powerful AI system, as announced in a post by Sutskever on Wednesday, June 19.

SSI’s mission is to create an AI system where safety and capabilities are developed concurrently, allowing the company to advance its technology rapidly while maintaining a strong focus on safety.

The company’s approach contrasts sharply with the external pressures often encountered by AI teams at major tech firms such as OpenAI, Google, and Microsoft.

SSI aims to sidestep these challenges by avoiding the distractions typically associated with management overhead and product cycle demands. According to the announcement, SSI’s business model is designed to shield safety, security, and progress from short-term commercial pressures, enabling the company to scale its operations peacefully.

SSI was co-founded by Ilya Sutskever, Daniel Gross, and Daniel Levy. Gross previously led AI initiatives at Apple, and Levy worked as a member of the technical staff at OpenAI. Their collective experience is aimed at bolstering SSI’s foundational goal of integrating safety with technological advancement.

What Led to the Formation of SSI?

This initiative follows Sutskever’s significant role last year in attempting to remove OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, which subsequently led to his departure from OpenAI in May. He hinted then at starting a new project, which has culminated in the founding of SSI. This period also saw the resignations of other key OpenAI personnel like AI researcher Jan Leike and policy researcher Gretchen Krueger, who cited diminishing focus on safety in favor of advancing attractive products.

SSI’s establishment comes at a time when OpenAI is deepening its collaborations with tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft. However, unlike OpenAI, SSI has committed to focusing exclusively on achieving safe superintelligence. In a Bloomberg interview, Sutskever emphasized that SSI will concentrate solely on this project and refrain from diversifying its efforts.

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Featured Image courtesy of AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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