Following the recent changes in leadership at OpenAI, Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist and cofounder of the business, is now virtually unemployed. Sutskever is no longer on the board of OpenAI, and it is unknown what role he will play in the company going forward. Sutskever took part in the board’s decision to remove CEO Sam Altman in November, which he later regretted.
However, a potential lifeline has emerged for Sutskever in the form of Elon Musk, another former OpenAI board member. On December 9, a post on X (formerly Twitter) suggested that Sutskever should consider joining Tesla. Musk, who launched his AI startup, xAI, in July, responded to the post, indicating an interest in having Sutskever on board. xAI rolled out Grok, its AI rival to ChatGPT, to paying subscribers in November.
This prospective collaboration wouldn’t be the first between Sutskever and Musk. Back in 2015, Musk and Altman successfully convinced Sutskever to leave Google and cofound OpenAI with a substantial $1.9 million salary and starting bonus.
Musk, an influential figure in the AI space, left the OpenAI board in 2018 after his proposal to take over the company was rejected. Despite the tumultuous history, Musk has consistently praised Sutskever’s contributions. In a recent post on X, Musk defended Sutskever, emphasizing his “good moral compass” and the fact that he “does not seek power.”
Sutskever, for his part, has not yet publicly commented on the situation, and a request for comment through his lawyer remains unanswered as of the time of writing.
As the drama unfolds within OpenAI, the potential collaboration between Sutskever and Musk’s xAI could represent a new chapter for the talented AI researcher and a significant addition to Musk’s ambitious AI endeavors.