The Exit of Ilya Sutskever from OpenAI sparks curiosity and contemplation, especially one specific query.

The announcement was made by X on Tuesday night, as the chief scientist of the organization revealed that the choice to depart was entirely his own.

“The journey of the company has been truly remarkable, and I have faith that under the guidance of @sama, @gdb, @miramurati, and now, with the exceptional research leadership of @merettm, OpenAI will forge an AGI that is both secure and valuable. Collaborating with everyone has been a blessing and an honor, and I will sincerely miss each individual,” expressed Sutskever, hinting at an upcoming project that is deeply significant to him, with further details to be disclosed “in the appropriate time.”

CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman also commented on this development, praising Sutskever as “undoubtedly one of the foremost intellects of our era.”

“His role in shaping OpenAI is immeasurable. While he embarks on a new venture that has personal significance, I will forever appreciate his contributions here and am dedicated to seeing through the mission we initiated together. Having had the privilege of being associated with such a genuinely extraordinary mind, one entirely devoted to securing a bright future for mankind, has been a source of joy,” he added.

Altman further disclosed that Jakub Pachocki, the current director of research at OpenAI, is set to take on the role of chief scientist.

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Although both Altman and Sutskever cited personal projects as the reason for the departure, without delving into specifics (using the identical phrasing), it is inevitable not to associate this move with OpenAI’s recent turbulence in leadership, where Altman faced a temporary expulsion, a situation instigated by Sutskever (later rescinded with profound remorse by Sutskever).

It became apparent to many that something was off, transforming the incident into an online meme. The query of “What did Ilya see,” previously alluded to by once-investor turned-critic Elon Musk, hinted at the notion that Sutskever might have witnessed troubling signs in Altman’s leadership, prompting initial support for Altman’s removal. Playfully or not, this question sprang up as replies to both Sutskever and Altman‘s posts on X.

Aside from Sutskever’s departure, Jan Leike, a researcher who co-led OpenAI’s Superalignment team focusing on the challenges of steering and controlling AI surpassing human intelligence, also bid farewell to the organization. He succinctly tweeted “I resigned” early on Wednesday.

Musk further articulated his concerns regarding OpenAI in a lawsuit against the entity, in which he had previously invested. Within the legal action, he advocates for OpenAI to revert to nonprofit status, arguing that the latest AI model by the company is too potent to be (effectively) under the domain of Microsoft, a significant stakeholder in OpenAI. Sutskever’s stance on this matter remains ambiguous.

Given the tenor of Sutskever and Altman’s statements, it appears unlikely that the intricacies of Sutskever’s exit from OpenAI will be unveiled swiftly. Nonetheless, the nature of Sutskever’s forthcoming “personally meaningful” endeavor piques interest.


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