April 20, 2024

A Google Gemini logo is displayed on a smartphone with an “artificial intelligence” symbol in the background.

A Google Gemini logo is displayed on a smartphone with an “artificial intelligence” symbol in the background.
Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket (Getty Images)

OpenAI’s former head of developer relations, who left the Sam Altman-helmed startup in March, announced this week that he has joined Google.

Logan Kilpatrick will lead its AI Studio and help with Gemini, Google’s chatbot. “Lots of hard work ahead, but we are going to make Google the best home for developers building with AI,” he said on LinkedIn Tuesday. “Also, we are assembling the most AI developer centric team in the world.”

At OpenAI, Kilpatrick helped AI developers bring their products to life. His move from the Microsoft-backed AI startup to Google, which was first reported by Business Insider and Gizmochina, is another example of Big Tech’s poaching of talent from companies that make generative artificial intelligence technologies. Microsoft in March hired most of Inflection AI’s staff. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made a public pitch to OpenAI’s researchers to join the cloud software company last fall. AI talent poaching isn’t limited to Big Tech. Wall Street banks such as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have lured talent from rival Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America also lost AI-focused staffers to its competitors.

Investing in AI upstarts or poaching talent is a way for Big Tech to bolster its AI efforts without having to go through the legal hurdles of mergers and acquisitions, which have declined in the last two years due to greater antitrust scrutiny and high interest rates.

Why can’t Big Tech and Wall Street just hire their own, new AI talent, some may ask? There’s a global AI talent shortage — something that’s pushing up offers to $1 million, even as layoffs plague the industry. Smaller startups and big companies including Meta are also offering stock-vesting schedules.

“There is a secular shift in what talents we’re going after,” Naveen Rao, head of generative AI at Databricks, told the Wall Street Journal in late March. “We have a glut of people on one side and a shortage on the other.”

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