When Satya Nadella and Bill Gates were 'very worried' about Google's AI progress: Email from 2019 shows - Hindustan Times
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When Satya Nadella and Bill Gates were 'very worried' about Google's AI progress: Email from 2019 shows

May 02, 2024 10:16 AM IST

Some emails- which were subject-lined “Thoughts on OpenAI”- were also revealed although there was a significant redaction in them.

Emails from 2019 revealed that Microsoft was deeply concerned over Google's progress in terms of artificial intelligence (AI). The correspondence was released as part of the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Google and it shows Microsoft's fears with respect to Google's AI decisions.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is seen. In emails, Satya Nadella said that Microsoft must have a strong stance on AI.(AP)
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is seen. In emails, Satya Nadella said that Microsoft must have a strong stance on AI.(AP)

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In the emails, Kevin Scott, Microsoft's chief technology officer, expressed how Google's AI investments must worry Satya Nadella and Bill Gates, particularly highlighting AI-supported "auto-complete in Gmail." Kevin Scott said that Microsoft lagged “multiple years behind the competition in terms of ML [machine learning] scale.”

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Some emails- which were subject-lined “Thoughts on OpenAI”- were also revealed although there was a significant redaction in them which hinted at potentially sensitive discussions.

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In emails, Satya Nadella said that Microsoft must have a strong stance on AI, adding, "This is why I want us to do this," while looping in Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood into the correspondence.

Read part of Kevin Scott's email below:

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Kevin Scott wrote in the email, “The thing that's interesting about what Open AI and Deep Mind and Google Brain are doing is the scale of their ambition, and how that ambition is driving everything from datacenter design to compute silicon to networks and distributed systems architectures to numerical optimizers, compiler, programming frameworks, and the high level abstractions that model developers have at their disposal. When all these programs were doing was competing with one another to see which RL system could achieve the most impressive game-playing stunt, I has highly dismissive of their efforts. That was a mistake. When they took all of the infrastructure that they had built to build NLP models that we couldn't easily replicate, I started to take things more seriously. And as I dug in to try to understand where all of the capability gaps were between Google and us for model training, I got very, very worried.”

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