Microsoft announces it will invest $1 billion in OpenAI

Posted Jul 22, 2019 by Karen Graham
Microsoft today announced that it would invest $1 billion in OpenAI, the San Francisco-based AI research firm co-founded by CTO Greg Brockman, chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Elon Musk, and others.
Microsoft s Seeing AI uses artificial intelligence to work out what s going in the world and provide...
Microsoft's Seeing AI uses artificial intelligence to work out what's going in the world and provide an audio description to the user
© Microsoft
Founded in 2015 as a non-profit with $1 billion in funding from Silicon Valley investors, Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, among others, the company's stated aim was to promote and develop friendly AI in such a way as to benefit humanity as a whole.
Since its founding, OpenAI has employed artificial intelligence researchers to develop advances in the field of AI, such as teaching a robotic hand to perform human-like tasks, entirely using software, thereby cutting down the cost and time of training robots.
More importantly, from the very start, the company has focused on the safety and social implications of AI, researching how computers can generate realistic news stories with little more than headline suggestions, motivated in part by concerns about existential risk from artificial general intelligence.
CTO Greg Brockman, in a blog post, said the investment will support the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) — AI with the capacity to learn any intellectual task that a human can — with “widely distributed” economic benefits, according to Venture Beat.
Azure AI supercomputing technologies
With the $1 billion investment by Microsoft, the Seattle company, in partnership with OpenAI will jointly build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies. OpenAI will also 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 (AGI), according to Microsoft.
The companies are focusing on building a computational platform in Azure of unprecedented scale, which will train and run increasingly advanced AI models. This will include hardware technologies that build on Microsoft’s supercomputing technology while adhering to their shared principles on 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.
Microsoft and OpenAI declined to answer questions about whether and how Microsoft’s return on its $1 billion investment would be capped, or how any revenue and profits from jointly developed technologies would be shared, according to Reuters.