Elon Musk
Elon Musk wants OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever to join Tesla or xAI. Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk is inviting co-founder and Chief Scientist at OpenAI Ilya Sutskever to join xAI or Tesla. It is worth noting that Sutskever played a vital role in CEO Sam Altman's ouster.

Just 5 days after OpenAI fired Altman, the top executive was reinstated because high-profile OpenAI investors were reportedly exerting pressure on the board.

As if that weren't enough, a considerable number of OpenAI employees threatened to quit unless the board reversed its decision. There are no prizes for guessing that Altman's return would have been a bit awkward for board members, including Sutskever, who helped remove him from the CEO position.

In a statement about his return, Altman announced that Sutskever, who had later expressed regret in participating in the board's action that led to Altman's ouster, would no longer serve on the board.

"I harbor zero ill will towards him. While Ilya will no longer serve on the board, we hope to continue our working relationship," Altman wrote.

However, a Business Insider report recently indicated that Sutskever has become "invisible" at OpenAI. Recognizing Sutskever's discomfort, Musk has invited him to join Tesla or xAI.

Apparently, an X (formerly Twitter) user shared the Business Insider report in a post, suggesting Sutskever should join Tesla. Taking to the comments section, Musk replied, "or xAI".

The battle to be at the forefront of the AI space

Earlier this year, Musk announced his new AI company xAI with the goal of understanding "the true nature of the universe". Last month, xAI unveiled its first generative AI model called Grok, which is allegedly trained on OpenAI code.

While Grok AI will be competing with OpenAI's ChatGPT, this wouldn't have been the case if history had unfolded a little differently. To those unaware, Musk helped start, fund and appoint key talent for OpenAI back in 2015 when it launched as a nonprofit.

In fact, Musk persuaded Sutskever, who was working at Google, to join OpenAI. "That was one of the toughest recruiting battles I've ever had," Musk told the Lex Fridman Podcast.

This was also the key moment that led to the friendship breakup between Musk and Google co-founder Larry Page. Musk stepped down as an OpenAI board member in 2018 after Altman and other board members rejected his proposal to take control of the company.

Following Musk's exit, OpenAI adopted a capped-profit model and started accepting huge investments from Microsoft. It is worth noting that the UK is currently looking into this controversial OpenAI-Microsoft partnership.

Musk wasn't happy about OpenAI's partnership with the Redmond-based tech giant either. In February, the 52-year-old tech mogul took to X to express criticism of the company's new business strategy.

In the post, he emphasised that the AI company was created as an open source, which is why he named it "Open" AI. While it was originally launched as a counterweight to Google, it has now become a closed source, Microsoft-controlled maximum-profit company, Musk added.

Elon Musk reacts to Sam Altman's ouster as OpenAI CEO

Last month, the OpenAI board fired Altman but later reinstated him as the company's CEO. However, the board is still mum on the reason behind Altman's shock firing.

Given the risk and power of advanced AI, Musk noted that the board should inform the public why it decided to take such drastic action. While Musk has long warned of the potential dangers of AI, he also sees its promise.

OpenAI board member Helen Toner, who resigned after Altman's return, recently told the Wall Street Journal that AI safety wasn't the reason behind the CEO firing. Toner attributed Altman's initial dismissal to a "lack of trust".

Although Sutskever also backtracked after Altman returned, Musk has been emphasising his involvement in firing Altman. "I think we should be concerned about this because I think Ilya actually has a strong moral compass," he said during an interview at the New York Times Dealbook summit.