Microsoft invests $1 billion in OpenAI, announces major Azure partnership

OpenAI is a silicon valley startup with a mission to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity. Microsoft today announced a major partnership with OpenAI including an investment of $1 billion. OpenAI and Microsoft will build a a computational platform in Azure that can train and run increasingly advanced AI models. The improvements Microsoft will make to Azure to build supercomputing technologies will also be made available to regular AI developers.

Key highlights of this partnership:

  • Microsoft and OpenAI will jointly build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies
  • OpenAI will port its services to run on Microsoft Azure, which it will use to create new AI technologies and deliver on the promise of artificial general intelligence
  • Microsoft will become OpenAI’s preferred partner for commercializing new AI technologies

“The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity,” said Sam Altman, CEO, OpenAI. “Our mission is to ensure that AGI technology benefits all of humanity, and we’re working with Microsoft to build the supercomputing foundation on which we’ll build AGI. We believe it’s crucial that AGI is deployed safely and securely and that its economic benefits are widely distributed. We are excited about how deeply Microsoft shares this vision.”

“AI is one of the most transformative technologies of our time and has the potential to help solve many of our world’s most pressing challenges,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “By bringing together OpenAI’s breakthrough technology with new Azure AI supercomputing technologies, our ambition is to democratize AI — while always keeping AI safety front and center — so everyone can benefit.”

According to OpenAI’s blog post on this partnership, OpenAI partnered with Microsoft to get access to Azure’s large computational power.

OpenAI is producing a sequence of increasingly powerful AI technologies, which requires a lot of capital for computational power. The most obvious way to cover costs is to build a product, but that would mean changing our focus. Instead, we intend to license some of our pre-AGI technologies, with Microsoft becoming our preferred partner for commercializing them.

It is important to note that Azure is not a new platform for OpenAI. Back in 2016, OpenAI started using Azure for its large scale AI experiments. You can read about it here.

Source: Microsoft

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