Microsoft said on Monday that it is hiring Sam Altman to lead a new advanced artificial intelligence (AI) research team after his failed bid to return to OpenAI, the prominent player in the AI industry behind ChatGPT. Microsoft is a key backer of the AI startup.
The OpenAI board of directors said in a letter to employees on Sunday night that Altman, its former CEO, would not be returning to his job after his ouster.
In a surprising move, Altman and his colleagues will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promising full support for their endeavors. Altman’s return to OpenAI reportedly fell through, leading to Emmett Shea’s appointment as interim CEO, according to reports from major U.S. media outlets.
Altman’s ouster from OpenAI and his swift hire by Microsoft highlights the internal conflicts within OpenAI’s leadership, particularly in balancing AI development and regulation. Altman’s proposed conditions for his return, including governance changes such as removing the existing board of directors, were reportedly not accepted by OpenAI’s management.
This development underscores the broader tension within the AI industry, as analysts categorize stakeholders into the “doomers,” who fear unregulated AI development as an existential threat, and the “boomers,” who focus on the potential for progress. OpenAI, initially founded as a nonprofit in 2015 to research AI for the benefit of humanity, has faced challenges, including the need to raise funds through a for-profit subsidiary, OpenAI Limited Partnership. Regulatory scrutiny and differing perspectives on AI development models have further fueled the ongoing debate, with Altman advocating for “guardrails” to ensure safe AI development while also supporting a more robust AI development model, including the launch of a GPT store for users to create their own chatbots.
By Kim Sang-jun and Han Yubin
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