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Microsoft welcomes fmr OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to lead new AI research team

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Sam Altman, ousted CEO of OpenAI, is set to join Microsoft as the head of a groundbreaking artificial intelligence research team, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced on Monday. The team, comprising Altman, OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman, and other former OpenAI personnel, will focus on advancing AI research within the tech giant.

Nadella expressed eagerness to swiftly provide the team with the necessary resources for success, emphasizing Microsoft’s commitment to collaborating with OpenAI’s new leadership, including interim CEO Emmett Shear. The company maintains its investment in OpenAI, reportedly amounting to $13 billion.

Altman’s departure from OpenAI, marked by his abrupt firing on Friday due to alleged communication issues, caused a ripple effect in the tech sector. Brockman resigned as president and co-founder, and three senior researchers followed suit, according to reports from The Information.

Despite efforts by OpenAI executives to persuade Altman to return, negotiations over the weekend proved fruitless, as confirmed by OpenAI co-founder and board director Ilya Sutskever. OpenAI, when contacted by Al Jazeera, did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the matter.

Altman, a prominent figure in the AI landscape, gained widespread recognition for his role in the development of ChatGPT and GPT-4. Unlike some tech founders, Altman lacked equity in OpenAI, rendering him susceptible to termination at any time, as reported by Semafor earlier this year.

Expressing his sentiments on X, Altman described his firing as a “weird experience” and compared it to “reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive.” He urged the OpenAI board to pursue the full value of his shares if he were to speak candidly about the situation.

Having co-founded OpenAI in 2015, Altman has emerged as a sought-after voice on the implications of AI. His influence was underscored by features in New York Magazine and Time, where he was likened to J. Robert Oppenheimer and recognized among the 100 most influential people in AI for 2023, respectively.

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