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After a weekend in which the future of artificial intelligence research seemed up for grabs, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says that his company has hired former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and his top deputy, Greg Brockman.
“Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” Nadella wrote overnight Sunday into Monday. “We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”
Microsoft, of course, continues to have a relationship with OpenAI, which announced overnight that Emmett Shear, the former CEO of the video streaming site Twitch, would be joining it as its new interim CEO.
“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite and in continuing to support our customers and partners,” Nadella added. “We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them.”
The tech giant had bet on its exclusive partnership with OpenAI to power its technology in the AI space (unlike competitors Google and Meta, which have been building their own internal AI teams), and its stock price tanked Friday in the minutes after it was revealed that Altman had been fired. The company said at the time that OpenAI’s chief technology officer Mira Murati would be interim CEO.
The changes, which came after a whirlwind weekend in which OpenAI’s board held talks with Altman about bringing him back to the company, reshape the AI landscape. Microsoft still has its exclusive deal with OpenAI but now has Altman, Brockman and other key employees in-house and can provide them with nearly unlimited resources to achieve their goals (Microsoft revenue in 2022 was $198 billion).
“The mission continues,” Altman posted overnight, sharing Nadella’s post.
It’s a shake-up that is also sure to be of interest to Hollywood, which has been keeping a close eye on AI companies and tools as a source of opportunity (to create compelling new content) and concern (as the models used to train the systems may rely on their copyrighted material).
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