Microsoft revealed on Monday that it’s making a further investment in OpenAI, the company behind the much-talked-about AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT.
In a statement on its website, the computer giant described the move as a “multiyear, multibillion dollar” investment, declining to offer more specific financial details. Recent reports, however, have suggested that Microsoft’s investment, which follows two others in 2019 and 2021, could be worth in the region of $10 billion.
Microsoft said the support will boost OpenAI’s work on supercomputing and research, and will enable the two companies to “independently commercialize the resulting advanced AI technologies.”
More specifically, Microsoft wants to help accelerate OpenAI’s groundbreaking independent AI research, and build out the AI infrastructure of its cloud-based Azure platform “to help customers build and deploy their AI applications on a global scale.”
There are also plans to deploy OpenAI’s models across Microsoft’s consumer and enterprise products and incorporate new digital experiences built on OpenAI’s technology.
“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratize AI as a new technology platform,” said Microsoft chief Satya Nadella. “In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchain with Azure to build and run their applications.”
OpenAI boss Sam Altman said the three-year partnership with Microsoft has so far been “great,” adding that his startup is “excited to continue our independent research and work toward creating advanced AI that benefits everyone.”
OpenAI’s ChatGPT software has taken the tech world by storm as the tool is a cut above traditional chatbots of the past. Trained using huge amounts of web data and refined through human feedback, the AI tool is able to respond in text form to human prompts in a way that’s both natural and creative.
David Hickton, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, said recently that the tool “has the potential to transform society in ways perhaps even more dramatically than Amazon and the iPhone,” but added that “many are glossing over the risks that come with such a powerful advancement.”
Still, there are those that don’t particularly rate ChatGPT, including Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist, who recently described the tool as “not particularly innovative.”