Get real! Microsoft CTO of AI quits Redmond for real estate biz

Joseph Sirosh has left the building

The office of CTO for AI at Microsoft now has a stonking great “vacant” sign plastered on it, as previous incumbent Joseph Sirosh this week trotted off to become CTO of Compass, a New York-based real-estate outfit.

Sirosh joined the gang at Redmond just over five years ago in July 2013, having worked for more than eight years with box-slinger Amazon in Seattle.

At Microsoft, he served first as corporate veep for Information Management and Machine Learning, before heading up the Data Platform (and laying claim to having a hand in the likes of SQL Server on Linux as well punting big data into the cloud in the form of Azure Data Lake and its ilk).

The exec then spent just under a year heading up the Cloud AI platform before putting in a few short months as veep and CTO of AI. He has now thrown in the towel in favour of a move to the decidedly less cloudy world of matching house buyers with house sellers.

The AI world within Microsoft is somewhat in flux at the moment. Only last month, the veep of Microsoft’s AI assistant Cortana, Javier Soltero, took the long walk out of the gates of Redmond to pastures new.

In the case of Sirosh, he confirmed his departure yesterday, the day after his new employer gleefully announced his arrival.

As for what Sirosh will be doing at Compass, the company said only that he’ll be leading the engineering team on developing new AI-powered products for its “real estate ecosystem”. Obviously.

Compass has been expanding within the US, and trousered $400m from SoftBank back in September, to bring its total funding to $1.2bn according to Crunchbase. It therefore has deep pockets to realise Sirosh’s AI ambitions.

Certainly, the advances in natural language processing and linguistic understanding means that finding ever more creative ways of describing a bijou dingy apartment in terms likely to open wallets is now within reach of bot-based Real Estate Agents.

As for who might replace Sirosh, we’ve contacted Microsoft and will update if the company responds. ®

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