Microsoft plows $1 billion into OpenAI partnership

OpenAI and Microsoft

Microsoft is investing $1 billion in a multi-year partnership with OpenAI-- a company co-founded by Elon Musk three years ago.

The partnership will see Microsoft and OpenAI working together to build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies. Microsoft says that it will focus on building a platform to create new AI technologies and deliver on the promise of artificial general intelligence (AGI).

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Announcing the investment and partnership, OpenAI says: "We're partnering to develop a hardware and software platform within Microsoft Azure which will scale to AGI. We’ll jointly develop new Azure AI supercomputing technologies, and Microsoft will become our exclusive cloud provider -- so we'll be working hard together to further extend Microsoft Azure's capabilities in large-scale AI systems".

It says that artificial intelligence has developed in a number of areas of the years, and AGI is the next frontier:

An AGI will be a system capable of mastering a field of study to the world-expert level, and mastering more fields than any one human -- like a tool which combines the skills of Curie, Turing, and Bach. An AGI working on a problem would be able to see connections across disciplines that no human could. We want AGI to work with people to solve currently intractable multi-disciplinary problems, including global challenges such as climate change, affordable and high-quality healthcare, and personalized education. We think its impact should be to give everyone economic freedom to pursue what they find most fulfilling, creating new opportunities for all of our lives that are unimaginable today.

Microsoft says that OpenAI will become its preferred partner for commercializing new AI technologies. The company adds:

The companies will focus on building a computational platform in Azure of unprecedented scale, which will train and run increasingly advanced AI models, include hardware technologies that build on Microsoft’s supercomputing technology, and adhere to the two companies'  shared principles on ethics and trust. This will create the foundation for advancements in AI to be implemented in a safe, secure and trustworthy way and is a critical reason the companies chose to partner together.

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