Microsoft hires OpenAI founders to lead AI research team after ChatGPT maker's shakeup
File - Sam Altman participates in a discussion during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in San Francisco. The board of ChatGPT-maker Open AI says it has pushed out Altman, its co-founder and CEO, and replaced him with an interim CEO(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Published Monday, November 20, 2023 6:52AM EST
Microsoft announced Monday that it has hired Sam Altman and another architect of ChatGPT maker OpenAI after they unexpectedly departed the company days earlier in a corporate shakeup that shocked the artificial intelligence world.
Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella tweeted that the U.S. tech giant is committed to its partnership with OpenAI, whose chatbot kicked off the generative AI craze by producing human-like text, images, video and music.
Nadella wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he looked “forward to getting to know” OpenAI’s new chief executive, former Twitch leader Emmett Shear, and the rest of the management team.
Microsoft invested billions of dollars in the startup and helped provide the computing power to run its AI systems. Now, it's bringing two of OpenAI's co-founders directly into the fold.
“We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” Nadella said.
In reply on X, Altman said “the mission continues,” while OpenAI co-founder and former President Brockman posted, “We are going to build something new & it will be incredible.”
The moves come after a weekend of drama and speculation about how the leadership would shake out at OpenAI. Altman was active on X, posting a photo of himself with an OpenAI guest pass on Sunday and saying this is “first and last time i ever wear one of these.”
Hours earlier, he tweeted, “i love the openai team so much,” which drew heart replies from Brockman, who quit after Altman was fired, and Mira Murati, OpenAI’s chief technology officer who was initially named as interim CEO.
It's not clear what transpired between the announcement of Murati's interim role Friday and the hiring of Shear, who co-founded Twitch, an Amazon-owned livestreaming service popular with video gamers.
An OpenAI spokeswoman didn't immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
The company said Friday that Altman was pushed out after a review found he was “not consistently candid in his communications” with the board of directors, which had lost confidence in his ability to lead the company.
Altman helped catapult ChatGPT to global fame and in the past year has become Silicon Valley’s sought-after voice on the promise and potential dangers of artificial intelligence.
He went on a world tour to meet with government officials earlier this year, drawing big crowds at public events as he discussed both the risks of AI and attempts to regulate the emerging technology.
Altman posted Friday on X that "i loved my time at openai" and later called what happened a “weird experience.”
OpenAI declined to answer questions on what Altman’s alleged lack of candor was about. The company's statement said his behavior was hindering the board’s ability to exercise its responsibilities.
The Associated Press and OpenAI have a licensing and technology agreement allowing OpenAI access to part of the AP’s text archives.