Microsoft and OpenAI have been collaborating in the development of cutting-edge AI technology for three years now, and today they have announced a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment to continue their partnership. The new investment will be used to further develop safe and powerful AI, while Microsoft will increase its investments in deploying specialized supercomputing systems to accelerate OpenAI’s research.
The partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI began three years ago, when Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI and granted it an exclusive license for some of its intellectual property. Microsoft will also continue to be OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, powering the startup’s workloads across research, products and API services.
In 2019, Microsoft announced the OpenAI startup fund, an AI-focused venture and tech incubator program. This new investment will help Microsoft further commercialize its Azure OpenAI Service, which includes AI models such as GPT-3.5 and DALL-E, and is designed for businesses to make use of OpenAI’s models.
However, there are still legal challenges that threaten to impede the growth of their AI explorations. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently moved to revoke copyright protection for an AI-generated comic, saying copyrightable works require human authorship. Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI are also currently being sued in a class action lawsuit that accuses them of violating copyright law.
Microsoft and OpenAI have their work cut out for them, but this new investment shows that the two companies are committed to advancing AI and democratizing it for everyone. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “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. 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.”
Source: Official Microsoft Blog, Microsoft and OpenAI extend partnership