Microsoft invests billions in OpenAI
Microsoft has confirmed that it wants to make a “multibillion-dollar” investment in OpenAI, the inventor of the new viral AI chatbot tool called ChatGPT.
Microsoft, which is an early investor in OpenAI, said in a post that it plans to expand its existing partnership with the company by making a greater effort to add more artificial intelligence to its product range.
In a post on Microsoft’s blog, the company said that the multi-year investment will be used to “develop Increasingly secure, useful and powerful AI“. “We formed our partnership with OpenAI by sharing an ambition to responsibly advance AI research, make it cutting edge and democratize it as a new technology platform,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a note.
The consolidation of the partnership between the two companies has the potential to enhance OpenAI’s ambitious projects, including ChatGPT, which has caught the attention of (and also raised concerns from) academics, business leaders, and technology enthusiasts because of its ability to create lengthy and comprehensive answers to user requests and questions.
The investment could also catapult Microsoft into the world of AI leaders and ultimately pave the way for the company to incorporate ChatGPT into some of its core applications, such as Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. As a result of its existing exclusive agreement with OpenAI, Microsoft recently said it will soon add ChatGPT capabilities to its cloud computing service, Azure.
If ChatGPT becomes available on that service, businesses could also use the tools directly within its apps and services.
The investment in OpenAI comes just days after Microsoft announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees as a part of broader cost-cutting measures. Nadella said at the time that the company will continue to invest in “strategic areas for our future” and pointed to advances in AI as “the next big wave” in computing.
Since OpenAI opened access to ChatGPT at the end of November, it has been used to write articles (with several objective and factual inaccuracies) for at least one news publication; it has written lyrics in the style of various artists (one of whom later responded, “this song sucks”); and it has drafted abstracts of research papers that have misled some scientists.
Some CEOs have already used the platform to write emails or carry out accounting tasks.
OpenAI is also the creator of DALL-E, an artificial intelligence model that generates a seemingly unlimited range of images from users’ textual descriptions. Both DALL-E and ChatGPT are trained on big data to generate the content.
In all of this there is also the fact that there are some risks to Microsoft and OpenAI. Although these products have gained much popularity among users, they have also raised some concerns, including their potential to perpetuate prejudice and spread misinformation.
At the same time, a growing number of schools and teachers are concerned about the immediate impact ChatGPT has had on students and their ability to cheat on homework. This could potentially create “very negative publicity” for companies associated with these tools, said David Lobina, artificial intelligence analyst at ABI Research.
The opportunity is immense, however, and could strengthen Microsoft’s position in the growing race to develop artificial intelligence and provide a useful boost to OpenAI in the process. “OpenAI is trying to monetize its systems, considering the huge computational costs of creating these models,” Lobina told CNN. “Their partnership with Microsoft may be an easy way to do this.”