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"Former Google A.I. Researcher Leaves to Found Startup Due to 'Big Company-itis'"

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Sakana AI: Building a New Path in Generative AI

Introduction: Departure from Google

Llion Jones, a co-author of Google's influential Transformers research paper, has left the tech giant along with his co-authors to establish Sakana AI, a generative AI research lab in Tokyo. Jones, who worked at Google for almost 12 years, expressed his desire to pursue work that was hindered by the bureaucracy and size of the company.

Driving Innovation with Nature-Inspired Methods

Jones, now the technology chief at Sakana AI, aims to explore alternative approaches to generative AI. Rather than relying on massive models, Sakana AI is looking into nature-inspired methods to revolutionize the field. Their goal is to find new ways of achieving breakthroughs in generative AI.

Challenges of Large Tech Companies

Jones encountered challenges at Google, where he witnessed a shift towards incorporating generative AI into various products. He found that the company's focus on a single technology restricted innovation and diverted attention from core research. This experience led him to seek a more agile and focused environment at Sakana AI.

Perspective on OpenAI and Innovation

Both Jones and Sakana AI CEO David Ha have expressed reservations about OpenAI, which has gained prominence in the generative AI space. They believe that OpenAI's approach lacks true innovation, as it builds upon existing research without significant advancements. Jones noted that OpenAI's successes were based on research he conducted at Google.

Future Plans and Expansion

Sakana AI, currently without any announced investors, has already brought on a part-time researcher from academia and plans to expand its team further. While they have engaged with others interested in working on large language models (LLMs), they aim to differentiate themselves from being just another company solely focused on LLMs. In conclusion, Sakana AI's departure from Google represents a pursuit of innovation and a desire to overcome the limitations of large tech companies. With a focus on nature-inspired methods and a critical perspective on the industry, Sakana AI aims to carve a unique path in the field of generative AI.

Conclusion: Implications for New Businesses

The establishment of Sakana AI offers valuable insights for new businesses, particularly those operating in the AI and tech industries.

Breaking Free from Big Tech Constraints

Jones' departure from Google underscores the potential limitations of large tech companies, where bureaucracy and a single-minded focus can hinder innovation. New businesses should consider the benefits of agility and a diversified focus in driving innovation and growth.

Exploring Alternative Approaches

Sakana AI's exploration of nature-inspired methods in generative AI highlights the importance of challenging conventional approaches and seeking alternative solutions. New businesses should strive to think outside the box and explore novel methodologies.

Building a Unique Identity

Sakana AI's aim to differentiate themselves from other companies focused on large language models (LLMs) emphasizes the importance of carving out a unique identity. New businesses should strive to differentiate themselves in the market by offering unique value propositions. In conclusion, Sakana AI's journey provides a compelling example of how breaking free from big tech constraints, exploring alternative approaches, and building a unique identity can drive innovation and growth. New businesses can draw valuable lessons from this case as they navigate their growth journey.
Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/08/17/transformer-co-author-llion-jones-leaves-google-for-startup-sakana-ai.html
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