IBL News | New York
Microsoft Corp. announced yesterday a “multiyear, multibillion-dollar” investment in OpenAI, the San Francisco-based AI lab behind the online phenomenon of ChatGPT.
That investment would total $10 billion over multiple years. The specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The funding is needed by OpenAI to ramp up computing power.
With the new deal, Microsoft has taken the lead over Google and Meta positioning itself at the forefront of generative AI, a technology that generates text, images, and other media in response to short prompts.
the company’s chief executive, said last week that the cuts would let the company refocus on priorities such as artificial intelligence, which he called “the next major wave of computing.”
Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, made clear the next phase of the partnership with OpenAI would focus on bringing tools to the market.
The deal follows Microsoft’s announcement last week that it had begun laying off employees in part of an effort to cull 10,000 positions.
Microsoft announced plans to build the program into Microsoft Word.
ChatGPT uses a transformer-based language modeling technique, which allows it to capture long-term dependencies in a text. OpenAI’s stated mission is to build artificial general intelligence, or A.G.I., a machine that can do anything the human brain can do.
Some of the most recent developments of OpenAI include DALL-E 2, a system that allows the creation of digital images, and GPT-3, the natural-language system that can write, argue and code.
OpenAI was created in 2015 by a small group of entrepreneurs and artificial intelligence researchers, including Sam Altman, head of the start-up builder Y Combinator; Elon Musk, and Ilya Sutskever, one of the most important researchers of the past decade.
They founded the lab as a nonprofit organization. But after Mr. Musk left the venture in 2018, Mr. Altman remade OpenAI as a for-profit company so that it could raise the money needed for its research.
A year later, Microsoft invested a billion dollars in the company; over the next few years, it quietly invested another $2 billion in the company, according to The New York Times. These funds paid for the enormous amounts of computing power needed to build the kind of generative A.I. technologies OpenAI is known for.
In 2020, OpenAI built a milestone A.I. system called GPT-3 that could generate text on its own, including tweets, blog posts, news articles, and even computer code.
Microsoft has already incorporated GPT-3, DALL-E and other OpenAI technologies into its own products. Most notably, GitHub, a popular online service for programmers owned by Microsoft, offers a tool called Copilot that can automatically generate snippets of computer code.
Last week, it expanded the availability of several OpenAI services to customers of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing offering, and said ChatGPT would be “coming soon.”
Both Microsoft and OpenAI say that their goals are even higher than a better chatbot or programming assistant.