OpenAI acquires AI design studio Global Illumination


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OpenAI, the AI company behind the viral AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT, has acquired Global Illumination, a New York-based startup leveraging AI to build creative tools, infrastructure and digital experiences.

It’s OpenAI’s first public acquisition in its roughly-seven-year-history. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“We’re very excited for the impact they’ll have here at OpenAI,” OpenAI wrote in a brief post published to its official blog. “The entire team has joined OpenAI to work on our core products including ChatGPT.”

Global Illumination, launched by Thomas Dimson, Taylor Gordon and Joey Flynn, has been involved in a range of projects since its founding in 2021. Backed by VC firms Paradigm, Benchmark and Slow, Global Illumination’s team designed and built products early on at Instagram and Facebook as well as YouTube, Google, Pixar and Riot Games.

As director of engineering at Instagram, Dimson was instrumental in iterating the platform’s discovery algorithms. While there, he helped to start the teams responsible for Instagram’s Explore tab experience, feed and Stories ranking, IGTV and general data engineering.

Global Illumination’s most recent creation is Biomes, a Minecraft-like open source sandbox MMORPG built for the web. The game’s fate is unclear, but one would presume that the team’s work at OpenAI will have less of an entertainment bent.

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