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Ilya returns with a new company to take on OpenAI

A new twist is the superintelligence tale

Whoa there, two emails in a day, you ask? Well, when the most mysterious man in AI emerges from the shadows after months of speculation, we kinda had no option but to tell you about it.

We’ll keep this one short and spicy.

OpenAI cofounder Ilya Sutskever announces SSI, a new company with a mission to build safe AI superintelligence

Source: Reuters

Here’s a recap of the drama that’s been brewing at OpenAI this past year. Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s co-founder and former chief scientist, was part of the board that fired CEO Sam Altman last year after citing safety concerns about the technology being developed at the company.

Then what? Sutskever eventually reversed his decision and supported Altman’s return, but had been notably quiet since the episode, leading to intense speculation about his role at the company. That speculation came to an end last month when Sutskever announced his departure from OpenAI.

Family Feud. Yesterday marked a dramatic new chapter in the saga, as Sutskever announced he’s forming a new AI company with ex-OpenAI engineer Daniel Levy and Daniel Gross, a notable investor who previously led AI at Apple. The company is called Safe Superintelligence (SSI), and the company’s mission is (you guessed it) to develop safe superintelligence. It’s a throwback to OpenAI’s original mission in many ways.

All of the above would be a sufficiently remarkable story in itself. But what makes the story truly astounding is that the company has no plans to develop any AI products or services. Sutskever says the company’s entire product roadmap is to develop safe superintelligence.

Wait, but why? The decision to not build a commercial product led to intense speculation across social platforms last night, as many questioned the reason behind the move. Among all the reasons put forward, one struck us as particularly interesting: That the SSI team knows that superintelligence is within reach, and that it believes it can get there safely before anyone else.

This, of course, is speculative. Ilya Sutskever is a mythical figure in the field of AI and his absence led to the popular “Where’s Ilya?“ meme. Now that Sutskever’s whereabouts are known, the AI community has a new favorite guessing game: “What will Ilya do next?“

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Zain and the Superhuman AI team