OpenAI and Microsoft have announced that they are extending their partnership to work on more AI research and development.
What Is Open AI?
OpenAI is a San Franciso based research organisation/capped-profit company that develops and promotes ‘friendly’ AI. Their research focuses on creating and promoting advanced AI technologies (including machine learning, robotics and natural language processing) to ensure that AI systems are safe and aligned with human values. OpenAI are currently in the news as the creators of ChatGPT which is a language model that uses the transformer architecture, a deep learning model, to generate text based on input data, and is based on advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning techniques.
Extend What Partnership?
OpenAI first partnered with Microsoft in July 2019. The collaboration was aimed at bringing OpenAI’s technologies to Microsoft’s cloud services, allowing customers to build and run AI-powered applications and services.
How The Partnership Has Benefitted Both
Examples of how the Microsft-OpenAI partnership has benefitted both include:
– Microsoft and OpenAI working on multiple supercomputing systems. For example, the supercomputer systems are powered by Microsoft’s Azure, which has been used to train all OpenAI’s models. These models are now deployed in Microsoft’s Azure to power products like GitHub Copilot, DALL·E 2 and ChatGPT.
– Microsoft being able to build one of the top five publicly disclosed supercomputers in the world in collaboration with (and exclusively for) OpenAI, and hosted in Azure.
– OpenAI’s models being deployed across Microsoft’s consumer and enterprise products and Microsoft introducing new categories of digital experiences built on OpenAI’s technology, e.g. Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service. This enables developers to build AI apps through direct access to OpenAI models through Azure.
– Microsoft becoming OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider with Azure powering all OpenAI workloads across research, products, and API services.
Not Everybody’s Happy With The Capabilities Of New AI Models
Recent advancements in publicly available AI such as ChatGPT and Generative AI have shaken-up the market and left some companies feeling distinctly unhappy. Generative AI systems can generate new content such as text, images, music, or video based on examples or patterns learned from existing data and recent spats making the news include Stock picture agency Getty Images, for example, commencing legal action in the High Court of Justice in London against Stability AI for allegedly unlawfully copying and processing millions of images covered by copyright to train its software.
In contrast to Getty Images, however, Getty’s competitor in the stock photo market ‘Shutterstock’ has opted to strike a deal in developing OpenAI’s Dall-E 2 AI image-generating platform using Shutterstock libraries to train and feed the algorithm.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Microsoft has realised the value and potential of AI and its partnership with OpenAI has given it a strategic and competitive advantage in areas like supercomputing and the extended partnership will allow it to add value and stay ahead by deploying OpenAI’s models across its consumer and enterprise products. Specifically, Microsoft’s (hybrid) cloud computing platform ‘Azure’ is likely to get a considerable boost with OpenAI’s models. Although OpenAI’s own brand has received a considerable boost over the popularity of ChatGPT, the continued partnership with Microsoft is a way for OpenAI to tie itself in even more closely with a major player, gain massive distribution for its products, and grow its influence and market share in the emerging AI world. This story also shows how AI is a major growth area, and it shows the power of strategic alliances and synergies in gaining dominance quickly in new markets with new technologies. One interesting aspect of this story is how image companies like Shutterstock appear to have realised the need to get on board quickly with AI technologies and could steal a march on larger competitor Getty by doing so.