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Microsoft hires DeepMind co-founder to lead AI unit

By AFP

March 20, 2024 03:40 PM


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DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman will become the head of a newly created consumer AI unit at Microsoft, the scientist and entrepreneur said on Tuesday.

Suleyman is one of the biggest names in the artificial intelligence revolution that is taking the technology world by storm and his hiring is a major move by Microsoft, which already partners with ChatGPT creator OpenAI.

Of all the tech giants, Microsoft has moved the fastest into adopting generative AI, integrating its powers into a whole range of products, most notably through its Copilot chatbot.

"I'm excited to announce that today I'm joining @Microsoft as CEO of Microsoft AI. I'll be leading all consumer AI products and research, including Copilot, Bing and Edge," Suleyman said in a post on X.

Suleyman said he would be leaving his role as chief executive of Inflection, a startup he co-founded and that became a promising rival to OpenAI and Anthropic in building the models that deliver ChatGPT-style AI.

He added that some key collaborators at Inflection, including co-founder Karén Simonyan, had "chosen to join" his team at Microsoft.

"We have been operating with speed and intensity and this infusion of new talent will enable us to accelerate our pace yet again," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a blog post.

Nadella said AI innovation at Microsoft would still depend on its partnership with OpenAI, the company led by Sam Altman where Microsoft invested $13 billion last year.

"We congratulate Mustafa and Karén on their new roles and look forward to working with them," an OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement to US media.

With the hire, Microsoft is expanding its already leading position in the AI frenzy, accumulating investments and partnerships well beyond its deal with OpenAI.

Last month, the company said it had partnered with French startup Mistral AI, a company that is seen as another promising upstart in the generative AI field.

The full embrace of artificial intelligence has often taken archrival Google by surprise and seen Microsoft become the world's biggest company by market capitalization, taking over that top berth from Apple.

Suleyman's DeepMind was acquired by Google in 2014 for $500 million and the company was fully merged with Google's own AI research department last year.

Regulators in the United States and Europe have been scrutinizing the relationship between Microsoft and OpenAI amid a broader inquiry into how tech giants are potentially dominating the fledgling sector.


AFP


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