A handful of tech visionaries from the late 1990s to early 2000s are re-engaging or revealing a continued involvement with their former companies in the wake of the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
What Happened: Last month, Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL, the parent company of Google, held several curious meetings after CEO Sundar Pichai issued a “code red,” disrupting existing product plans in order to accelerate AI development, recognizing that ChatGPT is a threat.
In attendance were Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Page and Brin, who have not been involved in the day-to-day business at Google since 2019, according to The New York Times, reviewed Google’s artificial intelligence product strategy.
The founders approved plans and pitched ideas to put more chatbot features into Google’s search engine, underscoring the urgency felt by the company’s executives about the development of ChatGPT.
Page and Brin aren’t the only tech titans returning to their headquarters.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp MSFT said in a recent ask me anything session on Reddit that he may be working on the AI with Microsoft.
Gates admitted during the session he still worked for the company he founded, and remained included in some of Microsoft’s research and product plans.
“AI is the big one. I don’t think Web3 was that big or that metaverse stuff alone was revolutionary but AI is quite revolutionary,” Gates said, responding to shifts in technology.
Microsoft had reportedly already invested a total of $3 billion in ChatGPT and was eyeing a $10 billion investment in OpenAI. With the latest investment, the tech giant would be taking a 49% stake in the company after it absorbs 75% of OpenAI’s profits until Microsoft recoups its investment.
Why It Matters: The renewed interest in AI by company founders is reminiscent of the push for tech expansion in the 1990s and 2000s.
This trend, which may not be limited to Microsoft and Google in the near future, recognizes the potential of ChatGPT’s AI and the importance of staying ahead in the constantly evolving technological landscape.