San Francisco: Microsoft has announced that it has hired Sam Altman, the former CEO of OpenAI, Greg Brockman, the co-founder and CTO of OpenAI, and some of their colleagues to lead a new “advanced AI research team” within the company. The move comes after Altman and Brockman were fired by OpenAI’s board of directors following a dispute over the direction of the research organization.
According to a tweet by Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, Altman and Brockman will be joining Microsoft along with other researchers from OpenAI, such as Ilya Sutskever, Wojciech Zaremba, and Alec Radford. Nadella said that he was “extremely excited” to welcome them to Microsoft and that he looked forward to “moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success”.
Nadella also confirmed that Emmett Shear, the ex-CEO of Twitch, will be taking over as the interim CEO of OpenAI, replacing Mira Murati, who had assumed the role after Altman was fired. This means that OpenAI will see its third CEO in a span of three days. Nadella said that Microsoft would continue to work with OpenAI as a partner and that he was eager to collaborate on the product roadmap that was revealed during Microsoft Ignite, the company’s annual developer conference.
In a reply to Altman’s tweet, Nadella also revealed that Altman will be leading Microsoft’s new AI group as CEO, and that the new group will operate as an independent entity within Microsoft, similar to LinkedIn, Mojang Studios, and GitHub, which are also owned by Microsoft. Nadella did not disclose the name of the new group, but said that it will focus on “advancing the state of the art in AI”.
The hiring of Altman and Brockman is a significant development in the AI industry, as both of them are widely regarded as pioneers and visionaries in the field. Altman and Brockman founded OpenAI in 2015 with the goal of creating artificial intelligence that can benefit humanity without causing harm or being influenced by corporate or political agendas. OpenAI has been behind some of the most impressive and influential AI projects, such as GPT-3, DALL-E, and Codex, which are capable of generating natural language, images, and code, respectively.
However, Altman and Brockman reportedly clashed with OpenAI’s board of directors, which includes prominent figures such as Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, and Peter Thiel, over the future direction and governance of the organization. Altman allegedly issued an ultimatum to the board, demanding that he be given more control over OpenAI’s operations and finances, or else he would leave with some of the key researchers. The board refused to comply, and fired Altman and Brockman, along with some of their supporters.
It is unclear how the departure of Altman and Brockman will affect OpenAI’s research and vision, and how their arrival at Microsoft will shape the company’s AI strategy and products. However, it is certain that the AI landscape has changed dramatically with this move, and that both OpenAI and Microsoft will face new challenges and opportunities in the coming days.