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Microsoft Chief clarifies OpenAI turmoil unrelated to AI safety concerns

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Microsoft Chief clarifies OpenAI turmoil unrelated to AI safety concerns

Microsoft’s president has just set the record straight: the recent shake-up at OpenAI wasn’t about safety concerns.

The AI world was buzzing with speculation after the sudden exit of OpenAI’s head honcho, Sam Altman. Rumors swirled that Altman’s departure from the ChatGPT creator was triggered by a risky AI discovery.

But Brad Smith, the big boss at Microsoft, which happens to be OpenAI’s major backer, told the BBC it’s not what it looks like. “This wasn’t about some scary AI scare,” he said. Microsoft, ever the investor, even offered Altman a gig before he bounced back to his old job last week.

The whole saga threw a spotlight on how cutthroat competition is driving AI’s rapid evolution. Tech personalities, including X’s Elon Musk, hinted that Altman’s firing and quick return were tied to disagreements over AI safety.

Smith, however, downplays that theory. “It’s not about safety squabbles. It was more about boardroom dynamics,” he clarified. “But hey, there’s a new board now, and our partnership with OpenAI is rock solid.”

Altman, a co-founder of OpenAI, became a familiar face with ChatGPT’s launch. His leadership scored a hefty $13 billion from Microsoft, propelling OpenAI into the big leagues.

After the board gave Altman the boot, Microsoft was quick to swoop in with a job offer. But Altman didn’t need it for long – a revolt by over 700 OpenAI employees, threatening to jump ship to Microsoft, got him back in the captain’s chair.

The board’s been tight-lipped about the real reasons behind the sacking, only hinting at communication issues with Altman. Smith was in London recently, unveiling a £2.5 billion investment in data centers to boost AI use in the UK.

He’s optimistic about the UK’s role in AI innovation, seeing it as a battleground for giants like Microsoft and Google. “What we’re doing with OpenAI will push the envelope even further,” he said.

As for AI surpassing human smarts within a year? Smith says that’s a long shot. “We’re years, maybe decades, away from that kind of AI,” he assured. So, it looks like we’ve got time before our computers outsmart us.

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