Feb 09 2023

Microsoft's ChatGPT Investment Brings AI to Bing

A multibillion-dollar agreement with OpenAI aims to bring artificial intelligence capabilities to Microsoft tools and the Bing search engine.

Microsoft has extended an existing partnership with OpenAI, the company behind the much-discussed artificial intelligence-based language processing tool ChatGPT, with an investment that could be worth as much as $10 billion, according to the company and media reports.

In a press release issued Jan. 23, Microsoft said it will make a “multiyear, multibillion dollar investment” in OpenAI through the third formal partnership between the two companies, a relationship that dates back to an initial $1 billion investment in 2019. Several news outlets, including Bloomberg and Semafor, have reported that this latest investment from Microsoft would total $10 billion.

At the time of its announcement, Microsoft touted the impact the artificial intelligence (AI) would have on its Microsoft Azure platform. Others speculated about the potential integration of a ChatGPT-like tool in Microsoft’s full suite of offerings via Microsoft 365.

Last week, the company announced Microsoft Teams Premium, an upgraded version of the popular collaboration tool that integrates some of ChatGPT’s language modeling to “make meetings more intelligent, personalized and protected.

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OpenAI released ChatGPT in late November, and the easy-to-use chatbot quickly took the world by storm and set off a minor panic in education circles, where some worried that its ability to craft essay-length responses to some prompts would usher in a wave of AI-powered cheating. That fear has calmed considerably as higher education leaders have instead largely embraced the technology and contemplated its ability to enhance student learning.

Microsoft, meanwhile, sees the AI behind ChatGPT as an opportunity to supercharge its Bing search engine and Edge web browser, the company revealed in a major announcement this week, noting that both would now be powered by an “AI co-pilot.”

“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all — search,” Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said in a press release.

The new version of Bing will offer “complete answers” to search queries, include an interactive chat feature for more complex searches and provide a “creative spark” to users based on their searches, according to Microsoft. As of Feb. 8, the new Bing is available for desktop users “to try sample queries and sign up for the waitlist” before the search engine is scaled out in the coming weeks.

The Edge browser will now include a chat function, where users can ask the browser to summarize webpages, for example. It will also include a compose feature, which will allow users to prompt an integrated AI to create blog posts, for example.

UP NEXT: Three trends shaping modern higher ed classrooms.

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