Microsoft to Invest $10 Billion in OpenAI, the Creator of ChatGPT

Microsoft said Monday that it is investing “multi-year, billions of dollars” in OpenAI, the San Francisco artificial intelligence lab behind the experimental online chatbot ChatGPT.

The companies did not disclose the specific financial terms of the deal, but a person familiar with the matter said Microsoft will invest 10 billion USD in OpenAI.

Microsoft has invested more than $3 billion in OpenAI, and this new deal is a clear sign of the importance of OpenAI technology to Microsoft’s future and its competition with other big tech companies like Microsoft. Google, Meta and Apple.

With Microsoft’s big pockets and OpenAI’s cutting-edge artificial intelligence, companies hope to continue to lead the way. creative artificial intelligence — technologies that can produce text, images, and other media in response to short prompts. After a surprise release in late November, ChatGPT — a chatbot that answers questions in clear prose, with punctuation — to become the symbol of a new and more powerful AI wave

The fruit of more than a decade of research inside companies like OpenAI, Google and Meta, these technologies are ready to remake everything from online search engines like Google Search and Microsoft Bing arrive Photo and graphic editor like Photoshop.

The deal follows Microsoft’s announcement last week that it has begun laying off employees in an effort to remove 10,000 positions. The changes, including layoffs, end of leases and what’s known as “changing our hardware portfolio” will cost $1.2 billion, it said.

Satya Nadella, the company’s chief executive officer, said last week that the cuts would allow the company to refocus on priorities like artificial intelligence, which he calls “the next big wave of computing.” .

Mr. Nadella made it clear in his company’s announcement on Monday that the next phase of the partnership with OpenAI will focus on bringing the tools to market, saying that “developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchains. “

OpenAI was created in 2015 by a small group of entrepreneurs and artificial intelligence researchers, including Sam Altman, head of startup Y Combinator; Elon Musk, billionaire, CEO of electric car maker Tesla; and Ilya Sutskever, one of the most important researchers of the last decade.

They founded the lab as a non-profit organization. But after Mr. Musk left the venture in 2018, Mr. Altman turned OpenAI into a for-profit company so it could raise the money it needed for its research.

A year later, Microsoft invest a billion dollars in the company; in the next few years, it quietly invest another 2 billion USD. These sums paid for the massive amount of computing power needed to build the kind of synthetic AI technology that OpenAI is known for.

OpenAI is also in talks to finalize a deal in which it will sell existing shares in a so-called public tender. According to two people familiar with the discussions, the figure could be as high as $300 million, depending on how many employees agree to sell their stock, and would value the company at around $29 billion. .

In 2020, OpenAI builds an important AI system called GPT-3 can create their own text, including tweets, blog posts, articles, and even computer code. Last year, it revealed DALL-Eallows people to create realistic images simply by describing what they want to see.

Based on the same technology as GPT-3, ChatGPT has shown the public how powerful this type of technology can be. More than a million people tested the chatbot in its first few days online, using it to answer trivia questions, explain ideas, and create everything from poetry to semester exams.

Microsoft has integrated GPT-3, DALL-E, and other OpenAI technologies into its products. Most notably, GitHub, a popular online service for programmers owned by Microsoft, offers a tool called Copilot. can automatically generate computer code.

Last week, it extended the availability of some OpenAI services to customers of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service and said that ChatGPT would be “coming soon”.

The company said it was scheduled to report its latest quarterly results on Tuesday, and investors anticipate a tough economy, including falling sales of personal computers and cautious business spending. more, will continue to affect revenue.

Microsoft has faced a slowdown in growth since late summer, and Wall Street analysts predict the new financial results will show the slowest growth since 2016. But the business is still generating. substantial profits and cash. It continued return money to investors through a quarterly dividend and a $60 billion share buyback program authorized by the board in 2021.

Both Microsoft and OpenAI say that their goal is even higher than a better chatbot or programming assistant.

OpenAI’s stated mission is to build general artificial intelligence, or AGI, a machine that can do anything the human brain can do. When OpenAI announced its first deal with Microsoft in 2019, Mr. Nadella described it as the kind of lofty goal a company like Microsoft should pursue, comparing AGI to the company’s effort to build a computer. With quantum computing, a machine will be exponentially faster. machine today.

“Whether it’s our pursuit of quantum computing or the pursuit of AGI, I think you need these ambitious Northern Stars,” he said.

It’s not something researchers necessarily know how to build. But many believe that systems like ChatGPT are the way to this noble goal.

Going forward, these technologies are a way for Microsoft to expand its business, increase revenue, and compete with the likes of Google and Meta, which are also tackling AI advancements in an innovative way. urgent.

Sunda Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, recently declare a “code red”,” upgraded the plan and started developing AI. Google plans to announce more than 20 products and demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year, according to a slideshow reviewed by The New York Times and two people with knowledge of the matter. plans are not allowed to discuss them.

But new AI technologies come with a long list of flaws. They often produce malicious content, including wrong informationhate speech and prejudiced images against women and people of color.

Microsoft, Google, Meta, and others have been reluctant to release many of these technologies because they could damage their long-standing brands. Five years ago, Microsoft released a chatbot called Tay that made racist and xenophobic language and quickly removed it from the internet after complaints from users.

Nico Grant contributed reporting.


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