Microsoft puts ex-DeepMind boffin in charge of London AI hub

Follows £2.5 billion pledge to 'upskill' British workers for the new world order

Microsoft is opening an AI research and development hub in London led by former Google DeepMind researchers.

In an announcement on Sunday, Microsoft AI CEO and DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, detailed plans for the hub, which will focus on advancing the software giant's growing portfolio of machine learning tools.

Microsoft's longstanding partnership with OpenAI has seen it integrate AI into all manner of products ranging from Windows, Bing, Github, and Office 365. More are to come we're told.

Redmond has invested billions of dollars to support the development of OpenAI's models, but despite these efforts it has reportedly faced issues converting this into profitability with services like Github Copilot allegedly losing it $20 a month per user. Meanwhile, Copilot for Office 365 has been met with mixed reviews, to be polite.

In order to help commercialize its AI investments, Microsoft added Suleyman to its ranks last month.

The DeepMind co-founder has been an influential figure in the research, development, and ethics of AI models. In 2022, shortly before the launch of ChatGPT, Suleyman left Google to start Inflection AI alongside co-founders Reid Hoffman  and Karén Simonyan. The latter was one of several Inflection AI researchers who followed Suleyman to Microsoft in March.

Leading Microsoft AI's London hub is another DeepMind and Inflection AI alumnus Jordan Hoffman. Among his first priorities will be bringing in fresh talent to support Microsoft's AI products. These efforts will no doubt involve poaching developers from key model builders and finding new startups.

The announcement comes after Microsoft's previous UK investments which include its research lab at Cambridge, a pledge to bring 20,000 GPUs to the country by 2026, and its £2.5 billion ($3.16 billion) commitment to prepare British workers for AI's gradual takeover.

The UK government for months has been attempting to position itself as a center for AI development. Last autumn Britain hosted the AI Safety Summit where it welcomed two AI-capable supercomputers: the University of Cambridge's Dawn supercomputer and the £225 million Isambard-AI system at the University of Bristol.

The latter, is based on Nvidia's Grace-Hopper Superchips and is expected to produce 21 or more exaFLOPS of AI performance — that's at FP8 in case you're wondering — when complete later this year.

Since then, the UK government has made £100 million ($126 million) available to regulator and research universities to tackle AI challenges. ®

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