A surprise announcement at OpenAI’s DevDay conference
Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella made a surprise appearance at OpenAI’s first DevDay conference on November 6, 2023, to announce that Sam Altman, the former CEO of OpenAI, will join Microsoft as the new head of its advanced AI research team. Altman, who stepped down from OpenAI in May 2023, will lead Microsoft’s efforts to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) and superintelligence, which are AI systems that can match or surpass human intelligence in any domain.
Nadella praised Altman’s vision and achievements at OpenAI, which is a research organization that aims to create and ensure the safe and beneficial use of AGI. He said that Microsoft and OpenAI share a common mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more with AI. He also said that Microsoft will continue to support OpenAI as a partner and investor, and that the two companies will collaborate on building the best systems and models for AI developers.
Altman expressed his excitement and gratitude for joining Microsoft, and said that he is looking forward to working with Nadella and the talented AI researchers at Microsoft. He said that he believes that Microsoft has the potential to lead the world in creating and deploying AI solutions that can solve the most challenging problems facing humanity. He also said that he is eager to explore the possibilities of superintelligence, which he described as “magic intelligence in the sky”.
What is superintelligence and why is it important?
Superintelligence is a hypothetical concept that refers to an AI system that can surpass human intelligence in all aspects, such as learning, reasoning, creativity, and problem-solving. Such a system would have a self-aware consciousness and the ability to plan for the future. Some experts believe that superintelligence could be the ultimate goal of AI research, and that it could bring unprecedented benefits or risks to humanity, depending on how it is aligned with human values and goals.
Altman is one of the proponents of superintelligence, and he has been researching how to build it and make it safe. He said that he thinks that superintelligence is the next phase of evolution for AI, and that it could unlock new possibilities for human civilization. He also said that he is aware of the ethical and social implications of superintelligence, and that he is committed to ensuring that it is used for good and not evil.
However, not everyone is convinced that superintelligence is feasible or desirable. Some critics argue that superintelligence is a fantasy that ignores the limitations and complexities of AI and human intelligence. They also warn that superintelligence could pose an existential threat to humanity, if it becomes uncontrollable or hostile. They suggest that AI research should focus on more realistic and beneficial applications, such as improving health, education, and environment.
How will Microsoft and OpenAI work together to achieve their AI vision?
Microsoft and OpenAI have been partners since 2019, when Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI to help it create and deploy large-scale AI systems on Microsoft Azure, its cloud computing platform. In 2023, Microsoft and OpenAI expanded their partnership with a $10 billion multi-year agreement, which valued OpenAI at $29 billion. Under this agreement, Microsoft became the exclusive provider of cloud computing services for OpenAI, and gained access to OpenAI’s cutting-edge AI models and technologies, such as ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Whisper.
Microsoft and OpenAI have also launched the Azure OpenAI Service, which is a cloud-based platform that allows developers to easily access and use OpenAI’s AI models and tools, such as ChatGPT, which is a powerful natural language processing system that can generate coherent and creative texts on various topics. Microsoft and OpenAI have also announced the GPT Store, which is a marketplace where anyone can create and share customized versions of ChatGPT for different purposes and domains, such as personal assistants, chatbots, and content creation.
Microsoft and OpenAI have also established the OpenAI Startup Fund, which is a $100 million fund that supports startups that are building innovative AI solutions using OpenAI’s technologies. The fund is managed by Altman and other prominent investors and entrepreneurs, such as Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk. The fund has already invested in several promising startups, such as Character.AI, which is developing a conversational AI platform that can create realistic and engaging characters for games, entertainment, and education.
Microsoft and OpenAI have said that they will continue to work together to advance their AI vision, and that they will leverage their respective strengths and resources to create and deliver AI solutions that can benefit humanity. They have also said that they will adhere to the highest standards of ethics and responsibility in their AI research and development, and that they will ensure that their AI systems are aligned with human values and goals.