SAN FRANCISCO and REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI today said they have partnered to further extend Microsoft Azure’s capabilities in large-scale artificial intelligence systems. Both companies claimed that they are thinking deeply about the role of AI in the world and how to build secure, trustworthy, and ethical AI to serve the public.
Microsoft said it is investing $1 billion in OpenAI to accelerate breakthroughs in AI and power OpenAI’s efforts to create artificial general intelligence (AGI). The resulting enhancements to the Azure platform will also help developers build the next generation of AI applications, according to the companies. The partnership covers the following:
- 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/
Microsoft and OpenAI said they 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, which the companies said was a major reason for their partnership.
OpenAI, Microsoft to focus on tech, social benefits
Over the past decade, innovative applications of deep neural networks coupled with increasing computational power have led to continuous AI breakthroughs in areas such as vision, speech, language processing, translation, robotic control, and even gaming.
Modern AI systems work well for the specific problem on which they’ve been trained, but getting AI systems to help address some of the hardest problems facing the world today will require generalization and deep mastery of multiple AI technologies, said the companies. Microsoft, which The Robot Reportr named a “robotics company to watch in 2019,” in May made ROS generally available in Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.
“We have a hard technical path in front of us, requiring a unified software engineering and AI research effort of massive computational scale, but technical success alone is not enough,” said OpenAI in a blog post.
OpenAI and Microsoft said their vision is for AGI to work with people to help solve currently intractable multidisciplinary problems, including global challenges such as climate change, more personalized healthcare and education.
“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.”