OpenAI’s Ilya Sutskever once burned a wooden effigy to show his commitment to safe AI, report says

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Ilya Sutskever, a cofounder of OpenAI and its chief scientist, once burned a wooden effigy to show his commitment to creating artificial intelligence aligned with humanity’s interests, The Atlantic reported.

It appears Altman’s dramatic ousting was prompted by fears over the speed of AI development, with Sutskever at the center.

The New York Times also reported that Sutskever created a “Super Alignment” team within the company to ensure that future versions of GPT-4 wouldn’t be harmful to humanity.

That commitment was put on display at a leadership offsite earlier this year, two people familiar with the event told The Atlantic.

The outlet reported that Sutskever commissioned a local artist to make a wooden effigy representing “unaligned” AI.

And to symbolize OpenAI’s dedication to creating AI in humanity’s best interests, Sutskever burnt the effigy, per The Atlantic.

OpenAI was founded as a non-profit in 2015, with safety at its center, intending to provide a balance to the AI labs at tech giants such as Google.

Four years later, it became a capped-profit company and received a $1 billion investment from Microsoft.

The unexpected success of ChatGPT following its release late last year sparked more interest in generating profits. This month OpenAI announced a GPT Store that would let users make money from customized GPTs.

But 11 days later, Altman was fired. OpenAI said “he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”

OpenAI did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, sent outside US working hours.

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