Former OpenAI chief scientist starts AI safety start-up

20 Jun 2024

Image: © DOUGLAS 3D/

Roughly one month after leaving OpenAI, Ilya Sutskever has co-founded Safe Superintelligence Inc, which is promoting itself as a company with AI safety as its primary focus.

Ilya Sutskever, the former chief scientist and co-founder of OpenAI, has launched his own safety-focused AI start-up.

This comes just more than a month after Sutskever resigned from OpenAI after nearly 10 years with the company. Sutskever and Jan Leike – who also resigned – both led OpenAI’s superalignment team, which was focused on the safety of future AI systems.

Sutskever did not specify his reasons for leaving, but Leike later claimed the focus on AI safety in the company had taken a “backseat to shiny products”.

Now, Sutskever has revealed his new company called Safe Superintelligence Inc (SSI), which is promoting itself as a company with safety as the key focus and goal. He has co-founded this start-up with former Y Combinator partner Daniel Gross and former OpenAI engineer Daniel Levy.

“SSI is our mission, our name and our entire product roadmap, because it is our sole focus,” the company said on X. “Our team, investors and business model are all aligned to achieve SSI.

“We approach safety and capabilities in tandem, as technical problems to be solved through revolutionary engineering and scientific breakthroughs. We plan to advance capabilities as fast as possible while making sure our safety always remains ahead. This way, we can scale in peace.”

The start-up said it is hiring to create a “lean” team that will focus on SSI and “nothing else”.

“We will pursue safe superintelligence in a straight shot, with one focus, one goal and one product,” Sutskever said on X. “We will do it through revolutionary breakthroughs produced by a small cracked team.”

Following the departure of Sutskever and Leike, OpenAI opted to dissolve the superalignment team as a standalone group and integrate it across its research efforts. It also responded to Leike’s post and claimed the company had laid the foundations for the safe deployment of future AI technology.

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic