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OpenAI dissolves team overseeing security of future AI models after chief scientist Ilya Sutskever leaves
Image Courtesy: openai.com/blog

OpenAI dissolves team overseeing security of future AI models after chief scientist Ilya Sutskever leaves

| @indiablooms | 18 May 2024, 08:46 pm

OpenAI has disbanded a team overseeing the safety of future highly advanced AI systems following the departure of the team's two leaders, including OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, media reported.

Instead of maintaining the superalignment team as a separate unit, OpenAI is now integrating its members more thoroughly into various research projects to achieve its safety objectives, the company told Bloomberg News.

This team was established less than a year ago under the leadership of Sutskever and Jan Leike, another long-time OpenAI member.

The decision to restructure the team follows a series of recent exits from OpenAI, reigniting concerns about the company's balance between speed and safety in AI development.

Sutskever, a highly regarded researcher, announced his departure on Tuesday after previously conflicting with CEO Sam Altman over the pace of AI development.

Leike revealed his departure shortly after with a terse post on social media. “I resigned,” he said.

For Jan Leike, Ilya Sutskever's exit was the tipping point after ongoing disagreements with the company, according to an anonymous source familiar with the situation who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

In a statement on Friday, Leike said the superalignment team had been fighting for resources. “Over the past few months my team has been sailing against the wind,” Leike wrote on X. “Sometimes we were struggling for compute and it was getting harder and harder to get this crucial research done.”

Hours later, Altman responded to Leike's post. “He's right we have a lot more to do,” Altman wrote on X. “We are committed to doing it.”

Other members of the superalignment team have also left the company in recent months. Leopold Aschenbrenner and Pavel Izmailov, were let go by OpenAI.

The Information earlier reported their departures. Izmailov had been moved off the team prior to his exit, according to a person familiar with the matter. Aschenbrenner and Izmailov did not respond to requests for comment.

Several other members of the superalignment team have also left OpenAI in recent months. Leopold Aschenbrenner and Pavel Izmailov were let go by the company, as previously reported by The Information. According to a source familiar with the situation, Izmailov had been reassigned from the team before his departure. Neither Aschenbrenner nor Izmailov responded to requests for comment.

John Schulman, a co-founder of the startup whose research focuses on large language models, will be the new scientific lead for OpenAI's alignment efforts, the company announced.

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