Microsoft Pours Billions Into ChatGPT Creator OpenAI

OpenAI ChatGPT
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft is stepping up its investment in the artificial intelligence realm, and today announced it is expanding its partnership with OpenAI (opens in new tab). According to Microsoft, this will be the third phase in its tie-up with OpenAI, representing a "multi-billion dollar investment" in its effort to be at the forefront of all things AI.

"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 CEO 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."

From now on, Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure will be used exclusively to power OpenAI workloads, API services, research, and backend systems. Microsoft will also use OpenAI to enhance its products to create "new categories of digital experiences." Those experiences will leverage OpenAI's ChatGPT, a conversational AI routine that can be used to write articles, poetry, and even debug code. 

The Information (opens in new tab) reported earlier this month that Microsoft planned to fuse ChatGPT with its Bing search engine to become more competitive with Google (or, more specifically, the Google Knowledge Graph). Perhaps even more interesting is the rumor that claims Microsoft intends to bring the GPT text-generation model to Microsoft Word and Outlook. This would potentially let AI write emails for you based on input commands, or flesh out an article you're writing using information siphoned from the web. 

On that note, we used ChatGPT (using the GPT-3 language model) last week to inquire about how to build a PC. Unfortunately, despite ChatGPT's impressive capabilities, its advice on building a PC turned out to be pretty bad. Its instructions were grammatically correct, but would have likely resulted in the destruction of the CPU if followed by a tech neophyte. 

Microsoft's investment in AI should not come as a surprise to anyone. When Nadella announced that the company would lay off 10,000 employees this year, he noted that "the next major wave of computing is being born with advances in AI, as we're turning the world's most advanced models into a new computing platform." 

OpenAI was co-founded in 2015 by a group of tech luminaries, including Sam Altman, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk. Its mission is to "ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity," and the company's continued partnership with Microsoft will hopefully advance those efforts. 

"The past three years of our partnership have been great," said Altman, who serves as OpenAI's CEO. "Microsoft shares our values and we are excited to continue our independent research and work toward creating advanced AI that benefits everyone."

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • PlaneInTheSky
    ChatGPT is currently awful for anything other than a bit of banter.

    The brute force approach machine learning uses, which involves mass gathering of human behavior or human writings, means a ton of unreliable data creeps in. The claim some are making that these machine learning "AI" algorithms get better over time, is something I have never once seen proof of.

    There is a tremendous amount of data going into these machine learning algorithms, and no one is able to explain how exactly they will filter out all false data, without a small army of people spending decades painstakingly going through all the data.

    AI seems like hype, without any evidence it has a future in any sector.
    Reply
  • SonoraTechnical
    meh.... i dismiss anything where someone feels the need to use 'democratize'.... buzz word puff piece.....

    can't we just focus on healthcare, cleaning up the environment, and improving food production systems for everyone on the planet? why does humanity need to get so distracted? why can't we focus on important basic needs.
    Reply
  • brandonjclark
    This is a very smart investment on the part of Microsoft. You're going to see ChatGPT leveraged in all kinds of chatbot scenarios in the business world, integrated directly into things like Teams and Sharepoint.


    For those who would rather see the world feed itself, step outside and head to the nearest corner bum and spoon-feed him yourself. You can even borrow his heroin spoon if you forget your own.

    For those talking down to AI, I'm sure you know better than Microsoft and it's 10bn.
    Reply
  • DavidLejdar
    Of course there are a number of companies, which want to automatize as much as possible, including customer service, to save money by having fewer employees. When the IT experts don't have much a clue what i.e. good customer service actually is, then even a way smarter AI won't necessarily know either though. And if there happens to be some form of bug, with which e.g. all invoices for the month turn out to be wrong, then there is a need to pay someone to fix it.

    But hey, if some people love the idea of giving an AI access to the chemical storage closet, while also letting it cook, sure may be kind of fun (in a dark humour sort of sense).
    Reply
  • husker
    SonoraTechnical said:
    can't we just focus on healthcare, cleaning up the environment, and improving food production systems for everyone on the planet? why does humanity need to get so distracted? why can't we focus on important basic needs.
    Because then no one would have time to read your comment.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    PlaneInTheSky said:
    The brute force approach machine learning uses, which involves mass gathering of human behavior or human writings, means a ton of unreliable data creeps in. ...

    There is a tremendous amount of data going into these machine learning algorithms, and no one is able to explain how exactly they will filter out all false data, without a small army of people spending decades painstakingly going through all the data.
    The process of manually creating a "ground truth" is one that's long been employed. Amazon even has a service called Mechanical Turk, for doing just that sort of thing.

    However, a much more efficient approach is to use tools to do at least a coarse pre-sort of the data. You can use simpler models or even more classical machine learning techniques for this.

    PlaneInTheSky said:
    AI seems like hype, without any evidence it has a future in any sector.
    I'm curious on what basis you're making this judgement. Have you actually searched for examples where deep learning is delivering the goods, or do you presume you would somehow "just know" if it were more than hype?

    There are already numerous areas, such as computer vision, in which deep learning has soundly out-performed classical methods. It's supercharged technologies like face recognition, which have been around for ages, but were too innacurate to deploy on large populations in any but the most controlled circumstances.

    If you're willing to set aside your preconceptions, I'm sure you can find many scholarly papers comparing deep learning has either outperformed classical methods or solved problems that have defied prior approaches.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    SonoraTechnical said:
    can't we just focus on healthcare, cleaning up the environment, and improving food production systems for everyone on the planet? why does humanity need to get so distracted? why can't we focus on important basic needs.
    Technology enables all of those pursuits to be tackled more efficiently. Healthcare is a major area of application for deep learning, as is agriculture, and I'm sure even recycling. These are big challenges, and we need to use all of the tools at our disposal.

    Also, there will always be some problems experienced by some people, somewhere. I don't think it's feasible to "fix the world first", before doing anything else. Investments in science and technology especially shouldn't be subordinated to humanitarian aid and welfare, because then we'll never get ahead of the problems causing that suffering. If you're going to complain about misspent resources, maybe turn your criticism towards spending on warfare and opulent luxury?
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Kinda bugs me that this is going to be tied up in Azure, if I'm honest. I have to wonder if the reason they went for it has anything to do with Musk needing the cash.

    Maybe Nvidia will provide "AI as a Service", with similar sorts of networks. Even better would be to just have a completely open source alternative that's decoupled from any particular hosting service and you could just run locally, or on the cloud platform of your choice.
    Reply
  • SonoraTechnical
    husker said:
    Because then no one would have time to read your comment.

    that's fine. i don't contribute anything particularly useful to the discussions anyway.
    billions in chat tech AI... i'd get more excited about regenerative agriculture....
    Reply