Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team, according to Satya Nadella, the chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation.

On the other hand, Emmett Shear, the co-founder of Twitch, will be OpenAI’s new interim chief executive.

Nadella said:

“We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and [OpenAI’s] new leadership team and working with them. And 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. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”

OpenAI leadership crisis

OpenAI board’s decision marks the second interim appointment within three days.

Initially, the board replaced Altman with Mira Murati, the chief technology officer, on Nov. 17. This move triggered a crisis within the AI company, resulting in the departure of key figures like Greg Brockman, the president, and other senior staff.

Amidst the upheaval, major stakeholders, including Microsoft and OpenAI staff, rallied over the weekend to support Altman’s reinstatement. However, their efforts only resulted in Altman visiting the OpenAI premises, wearing a guest pass, and commenting on the social media platform X.

CryptoSlate reported that the board dismissed Altman due to communication issues and a lack of confidence in his leadership abilities. The board said the dismissal aims to realign the company’s focus toward ensuring that artificial general intelligence benefits humanity.

Shear’s view on AI

Shear’s appointment is a surprise, given his limited leadership presence in the AI industry.

In a June podcast on the Logan Bartlett Show, Shear emphasized the importance of cautiously pacing AI development to ensure safety, expressing concerns about the technology potentially surpassing human intelligence.

However, he acknowledged AI’s potential while advocating for a prudent approach to prevent unintended consequences and potential harm.

Shear said:

“At some point, as (AI) gets better, the kind of problems that we’ll be able to solve include programming, chip design, material science, power production, all of the things you’ll need to design an artificial intelligence. At that point, we would have pointed the thing we built back at itself [which would greatly help its self-improvement]…That kind of intelligence is just an intrinsically very dangerous thing because intelligence is power.”

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