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Microsoft has invested $1 billion in Elon Musk-founded artificial intelligence company OpenAI in an effort build supercomputer AI technologies for its Azure cloud services. The two companies will join forces to build large-scale AI systems for Azure.
Microsoft (MSFT) decided to invest $1 billion in OpenAI, Elon Musk-founded artificial intelligence venture that allegedly plans to mimic the human brain using computers.
As it says in Microsoft blog, they are 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.”
This investment should turn Microsoft into the “exclusive” provider of cloud computing services to OpenAI, and the two companies will work together on developing new technologies. OpenAI will, on the other hand, license some of its techs to Microsoft to commercialize, but it’s still not known when should that happen and what kind of technology will be used.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said that the creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity. He said:
“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.”
As part of the deal, OpenAI, whose technology is known to abolish gamers, predict language, and generate coherent blocks of text from a single phrase, will also exclusively run its computing efforts in Microsoft’s cloud.
In their blog company also noted that both 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.
“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.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that 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. He said:
“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.”
OpenAI was founded in 2015 with the goal of developing AGI that can learn different types of disciplines, rather than just narrow abilities of todays’ artificial intelligence systems.
OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman said:
“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 personalised education.”
OpenAI is a nonprofit AI research organization co-founded by Musk, serial entrepreneur Peter Thiel, and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman with the main goal of developing beneficial, open source AI to combat any future rise of harmful AI.
Musk, however, stepped down from the Board of Directors in early 2018 to avoid any conflicts with Tesla’s Autopilot program but he still remains as a benefactor and advisor. Tesla’s Director of AI and Autopilot Vision, Andrej Karpathy, previously worked as a neural network researcher for OpenAI.