In an unexpected move today, technology entrepreneur Sam Altman will be joining Microsoft to lead a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) project. This news comes after Altman’s ouster as CEO of OpenAI, a company focused on creating Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Prior to his tenure at OpenAI, Altman was an early investor in start-ups like Airbnb and Dropbox and was the President of Y Combinator, a seed accelerator. His involvement in AI has been both lauded and criticized. At Microsoft, Altman will reportedly lead a project focused on “computational creativity”. This type of AI would have applications in fields like natural language processing and autonomous systems. In a press release discussing his hiring, Altman stated, “We’re building a research team and exploring tools and methods to drive the development of new, awe-inspiring AI products.” An open question is how Microsoft’s AI strategy will differ from Google’s and Apple’s. Google’s approach has been to push the boundaries of existing AI technology, while Apple’s efforts have been focused more on finding ways to incorporate AI into their hardware. Altman’s move to Microsoft appears to be an attempt to carve out a middle ground, as his focus on “computational creativity” could potentially lead to developments that bridge the gap between the two. The move marks a significant change in the direction of Altman’s career. OpenAI’s board had reportedly grown concerned with his leadership and lack of progress with AGI. Microsoft is likely betting on Altman to make a splash with this new project, and the Silicon Valley entrepreneur certainly has the knowledge and experience required to do that. We’ll have to wait and see how his move to Microsoft pans out, but it will certainly be an exciting development to watch.