Ilya Sutskever, head bowed, is deep in thought. His arms are spread wide and his fingers are splayed on the tabletop like a concert pianist about to play his first notes. We sit in silence.

I’ve come to meet Sutskever, OpenAI’s cofounder and chief scientist, in his company’s unmarked office building on an unremarkable street in the Mission District of San Francisco to hear what’s next for the world-tilting technology he has had a big hand in bringing about. I also want to know what’s next for him—in particular, why building the next generation of his company’s flagship generative models is no longer the focus of his work. 

Instead of building the next GPT or image maker DALL-E, Sutskever tells me his new priority is to figure out how to stop an artificial superintelligence (a hypothetical future technology he sees coming with the foresight of a true believer) from going rogue.

Good luck with that.

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