Elon Musk-founded OpenAI gets $1b investment from Microsoft

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 25 Jul 2019


L-R: Sam Altman, CEO, OpenAI and Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

American software major Microsoft and Elon Musk-founded artificial intelligence (AI) research company OpenAI have announced a partnership that will see the two companies explore how to build secure, trustworthy and ethical AI to serve the public.

As part of the deal, Microsoft is investing $1 billion (Rs 6,901 crore) to accelerate breakthroughs in AI and power OpenAI’s efforts to create artificial general intelligence (AGI).

The resulting enhancements to the Microsoft's Azure platform will also help developers build the next generation of AI applications. The company say the partnership covers Microsoft and OpenAI to 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 commercialising new AI technologies.

The partners 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 shared principles of ethics and trust. This will create the foundation for advancements in AI to be implemented in a safe, secure and trustworthy way and is a critical reason the companies chose to partner together.

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 generalisation and deep mastery of multiple AI technologies.

OpenAI and Microsoft’s vision is for artificial general intelligence to work with people to help solve currently intractable multidisciplinary problems, including global challenges such as climate change, more personalised healthcare and education.

Sam Altman, CEO, OpenAI said: “The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity. 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.”

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, said: “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. By bringing together OpenAI’s breakthrough technology with new Azure AI supercomputing technologies, our ambition is to democratise AI — while always keeping AI safety front and centre — so everyone can benefit.”