After a weekend in which the future of artificial intelligence research seemed up for grabs, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says his company has hired former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and his deputy Greg Brockman.
“Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, along with colleagues, will join Microsoft to lead a new cutting-edge AI research team,” says Nadella wrote overnight from Sunday to Monday. “We look forward to taking action quickly and providing them with the resources needed for their success.”
Microsoft will of course continue to have a relationship with OpenAI, which announced overnight that Emmett Shear, the former CEO of video streaming site Twitch, would join as its new interim CEO.
“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and are confident 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 and working with Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team.”
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 built their own in-house AI teams), and its stock price plummeted on Friday in the minutes after revealed that Altman had been fired. The company said at the time that OpenAI’s CTO Mira Murati would be interim CEO.
The changes, which followed a whirlwind weekend in which OpenAI’s board held discussions with Altman about returning to the company, are reshaping the AI landscape. Microsoft still has an exclusive deal with OpenAI, but now has Altman, Brockman, and other key employees in-house and can provide them with virtually unlimited resources to achieve their goals (Microsoft’s 2022 revenue was $198 billion).
“The mission continues,” Altman Posted at night, sharing Nadella’s message.
It’s a shake-up that will surely also be of interest to Hollywood, which is 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 power the systems to train can rely on their copyrighted material).