AI Researcher Elon Musk Poached From OpenAI Returns to OpenAI

No loyalty among data thieves.

Hello, Goodbye

Less than a year after joining xAI’s founding team, one of the researchers poached by Elon Musk has apparently returned to OpenAI.

As Fortune magazine reports, OpenAI researcher Kyle Kosic has returned to the firm after what turned out to be a brief defection to Musk’s AI venture.

While the timeline is somewhat fuzzy, Kosic’s tenure with xAI appears to have begun last summer, when it was announced that he was leaving OpenAI to become one of the new project’s founding engineers. But by April of this year, per his LinkedIn, he’d already left the Muskian gamble and boomeranged back to his old employer.

Beyond OpenAI confirming that the researcher and technical staff member who first joined the firm in 2021 had indeed returned, there’s not a lot known about what happened with Kosic’s about-face. While it could suggest tumult at the firm, Fortune notes that current PitchBook estimates put xAI’s staff at just under 100 people, and that beyond Kosic’s reversion back to OpenAI, all its original founding members appear to still work there.

Money Moves

Notably, Kosic appears to have left xAI a month prior to the company announcing that it had raised a whopping $6 billion in seed capital to fund its challenge to OpenAI — which, of course, Musk cofounded nearly a decade ago before leaving just a few years later over differences in vision.

With those gigantic investments, xAI is now among the highest-funded AI firms in the world, putting it in the same league as Mistral, the French venture that’s considered Europe’s answer to OpenAI and which is also currently valued at $6 billion.

At the end of the day, it’s anyone’s guess why Kosic left xAI, especially right before the company announced that huge investment infusion. Given that we’re now just under a year into the company’s existence and it has little to show for it besides a fortune’s worth of NVIDIA chips and its hilariously-buggy Grok chatbot hosted on the site formerly known as Twitter, however, the defected researcher could be a canary in the coal mine.

More on OpenAI: ChatGPT-4o Is Sending Users to a Scammy Website That Floods Your Screen With Fake Virus Warnings

Justin Hardy, Founder of Hardy Marketing: Harnessing AI, Funnel Marketing, and the Digital Nomad Experience - AI Time Journal

Justin Hardy, Founder of Hardy Marketing: Harnessing AI, Funnel Marketing, and the Digital Nomad Experience – AI Time Journal

CTO Craft Bytes: Beyond just an OpenAI wrapper