One of the most important figures in the development of artificial intelligence has joined Microsoft to head up its new AI division.

Mustafa Suleyman was a co-founder of DeepMind, the London-headquartered AI company that made headlines when its AlphaGo system mastered the complex board game Go.

He joined Google when it acquired DeepMind in 2014. After leaving the search engine giant in 2022, he started up Inflection AI, which raised $1.3 billion from Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia last June.

Now he has been appointed EVP and CEO of Microsoft AI, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. He will lead all consumer AI products and research, including the Copilot chatbot, search engine Bing and browser Edge.

Several of his long-time colleagues are also joining Microsoft, including friend and long-time collaborator Karén Simonyan, who has been named chief scientist.

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“I’ve known Mustafa for several years and have greatly admired him as a founder of both DeepMind and Inflection, and as a visionary, product maker, and builder of pioneering teams that go after bold missions,” said Nadella.

Microsoft recently invested again in OpenAI in a deal which valued the latter – creator of generative AI leader ChatGPT – at tens of billions of dollars.

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“At our core, we have always been a platform and partner-led company, and we’ll continue to bring that sensibility to all we do,” continued Nadella. “Our AI innovation continues to build on our most strategic and important partnership with OpenAI. 

“We will continue to build AI infrastructure inclusive of custom systems and silicon work in support of OpenAI’s foundation model roadmap, and also innovate and build products on top of their foundation models. And today’s announcement further reinforces our partnership construct and principles.”

Meanwhile rival Google’s AI platform Gemini attracted negative press for refusing to depict white people and changing the race of certain white historical figures.

“We have a real shot to build technology that was once thought impossible and that lives up to our mission to ensure the benefits of AI reach every person and organisation on the planet, safely and responsibly,” added Nadella.

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