Capping a week of turbulent developments in the AI world, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a tweet that the company remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI, but announced that “we’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman (Open AI’s President, who was also fired), together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team.”
Ousted amidst AI revolution, know about Sam Altman
Microsoft has invested more than $ 11 billion in OpenAI, but its choosing to open a new in-house unit to advance the technology while expressing “confidence in our product roadmap” being developed at OpenAI, highlights the rift in the AI world between those who advocate caution in developing the technology and those who want to push ahead rapidly.
“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them (Altman and Brockman) with the resources needed for their success,” Nadella said, indicating that more OpenAI executives were welcome at Microsoft that the new unit will operate independently.
In response, Sam Altman tweeted, “the mission continues.”
“I’m super excited to have you join as CEO of this new group, Sam, setting a new pace for innovation. We’ve learned a lot over the years about how to give founders and innovators space to build independent identities and cultures within Microsoft, including GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn, and I’m looking forward to having you do the same,” Nadella said in a second tweet.
Altman’s firing by OpenAI’s board dominated by those advocating caution was confirmed over the weekend after hours of talks with those members and investors who wanted to retain him. Instead, the board announced that Emmett Shear, the former chief executive of Twitch, would be the new CEO, replacing Mira Murati, who was named as interim CEO just 24 hours before.
The Board said Shear has a “unique mix of skills, expertise and relationships that will drive OpenAI forward,” while asserting that it “firmly stands by its decision as the only path to advance and defend the mission of OpenAI,” according to a memo reported in the tech media.
“Put simply, Sam’s behavior and lack of transparency in his interactions with the board undermined the board’s ability to effectively supervise the company in the manner it was mandated to do,” it added, without elaborating on the precise nature of the falling out.
Nadella on his part said Microsoft looks forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them, suggesting it will have a foot in both camps. Tech pundits said Microsoft had essentially acquired OpenAI without any transaction and at no cost, while declaring that Nadella was the winner in the corporate battle.
Brockman, the departing OpenAI President, revealed that the new team at Microsoft will also include several key OpenAI talent. They include Jakub Pachocki, director of research at OpenAI, research scientist Szymon Sidor, and head of preparedness Aleksander Madry.