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The Who’s Who Behind the Modern Artificial Intelligence Movement

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As artificial intelligence has taken center stage over the past year, technologies that can appear to work like the human brain are the focus of researchers, investors and tech executives in Silicon Valley and in fact for more than a decade.

Here are some of the people involved in the origins of the modern AI movement who have influenced the development of the technology.

Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Mr. Altman is the CEO of OpenAI, the San Francisco AI lab that created the chatbot ChatGPT, which went viral over the past year and marked the beginning of recognition of the power of intelligence generative artificial. Mr. Altman helped launch OpenAI after meeting with Elon Musk about the technology in 2015. At the time, Mr. Altman was running Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley startup incubator.

Credit…Massimo Berruti for the New York Times

Mr. Amodei, an AI researcher who joined OpenAI early on, runs AI startup Anthropic. A former researcher at Google, he helped set the direction of OpenAI’s research, but left the company in 2021 after disagreements over the path the company was taking. That year, he founded Anthropic, which is dedicated to creating safe AI systems.

Credit…Calla Kessler for the New York Times

Mr Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft and for many years the richest man in the world, has long been skeptical of the power of AI. Then, in August 2022, he was treated to a demonstration of OpenAI’s GPT-4, the AI ​​model that underpins ChatGPT. After seeing what GPT-4 could do, Mr. Gates converted to AI. His support has helped Microsoft move aggressively to capitalize on generative AI.

Credit…Toby Melville/Agence France-Presse, via Pool/Afp Via Getty Images

Mr. Hassabis, neuroscientist, is one of the founders of DeepMind, one of the most important laboratories in this wave of AI. He gained financial backing from investor Peter Thiel to create DeepMind and built a lab that produced AlphaGo, AI software that shocked the world. world in 2016 by beating the world’s top player in the board game Go. (Mr. Hassabis was an award-winning chess player as a teenager.) Google bought Britain-based DeepMind in 2014, and M Hassabis is one of the company’s top AI leaders.

Credit…Chloé Ellingson for the New York Times

A professor at the University of Toronto, Mr. Hinton and two of his graduate students were responsible for neural networks, a key underlying technology of this wave of AI. Neural networks captivated the technology industry, and Google quickly agreed to pay Mr. Hinton and spent $44 million in 2012 to recruit them, beating out Microsoft and Baidu, a Chinese technology company.

Credit…Clara Mokri for the New York Times

Mr. Hoffman, a former PayPal executive who founded LinkedIn and became a venture capitalist, was — alongside Mr. Musk and Mr. Thiel — part of a group that invested $1 billion in OpenAI .

Credit…Amir Hamja/New York Times

Mr. Musk, who runs Tesla and founded SpaceX, helped found OpenAI in 2015. He has long been concerned about the potential dangers of AI. At the time, he sought to position OpenAI, a nonprofit, as a more ethical counterweight to other tech companies. Mr. Musk left OpenAI in 2018 after disagreements with Mr. Altman.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Mr. Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, led the company’s investments in OpenAI in 2019 and this year, committing $13 billion to the startup over that period. Since then, Microsoft has gone all-in on AI, integrating OpenAI technology into its Bing search engine and many of its other products.

Credit…Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Mr. Page, who founded Google with Sergey Brin, has long been a supporter of AI and its benefits. He pushed for Google’s acquisition of DeepMind in 2014. Mr. Page has a more optimistic view of AI than others, telling Silicon Valley executives that robots and humans will one day live in harmony.

Credit…Marco Bello/Getty Images

Mr. Thiel, a PayPal executive turned venture capitalist who made much of his fortune through an early investment in Facebook, was a key investor in early AI labs. He invested money in DeepMind and, later, OpenAI.

Credit…Jason Henry for the New York Times

Mr. Yudkowsky, an Internet philosopher and self-taught AI researcher, helped initiate much of the philosophical thinking around the technology. He was a leader in a community that called itself rationalist or, later, effective altruist, and who believed in the power of AI but also feared that the technology could destroy people. Mr. Yudkowsky organized an annual conference (funded by Mr. Thiel) on AI, where Mr. Hassabis met Mr. Thiel and gained his support for DeepMind.

Credit…Loren Elliott for the New York Times

Mr. Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has been pushing for AI for at least a decade. Aware of the power of technology, he tried to buy DeepMind, before Google won the bid. He then embarked on a recruiting campaign to recruit AI talent to Facebook.

The report was provided by Cade Metz, Karen Weise, Nico Grant And Mike Isaac.

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