Microsoft Announces New AI Hub in London

Microsoft Announces New AI Hub in London

Microsoft is set to open a new artificial intelligence hub in London, led by AI scientist and engineer Jordan Hoffmann, as the company aims to advance its consumer AI products and research. The news was announced by Mustafa Suleyman, former CEO of Inflection and co-founder of Deepmind, who just last month joined Microsoft to lead its new consumer AI division.

Hoffmann, a former PhD student in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, joined DeepMind as a research scientist in 2020 before moving to Inflection AI in 2022. He will now take charge of the new London unit, with plans to recruit fresh AI talent in the coming weeks and months.

The London hub will focus on developing state-of-the-art language models and their supporting infrastructure, as well as creating world-class tooling for foundation models. Microsoft plans to collaborate closely with its AI teams and partners, including OpenAI, to push the boundaries of AI and extend its benefits across the UK.

The establishment of the London hub positions Microsoft well in the highly competitive AI talent market. The race for AI talent has intensified, with tech giants vying for a small pool of top researchers and engineers. This competition has led to strategic hiring and even poaching of experts from rival companies.

Microsoft's new hub allows the company to tap into the UK's thriving AI ecosystem, which includes startups, established tech firms, and academic institutions. By investing in this region, Microsoft gains access to a diverse talent pool and can attract individuals with innovative and collaborative mindsets.

This development aligns with Microsoft's recent commitment to invest £2.5 billion in the UK over the next three years, including expanding its data center footprint and upskilling the workforce for the AI era. With Google's DeepMind also based in London, the move sets the stage for a potential talent competition between the two tech giants.

Suleyman's hiring last month by Microsoft sparked criticism from some corners, as he took dozens of staff members with him from Inflection AI. This allowed Microsoft to avoid the regulatory scrutiny that typically accompanies a traditional acquisition.

Suleyman, who will report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the U.S., highlighted the UK's "enormous pool of AI talent and expertise," adding that the company plans to make a "significant, long-term investment" in the region.

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