Microsoft has extended an existing partnership with OpenAI, the company behind the artificial intelligence–based language processing tool ChatGPT, with an investment that could be worth as much as $10 billion dollars, according to the company and media reports.
In a press release issued Jan. 23, Microsoft announced it will make a multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI. This marks the third formal partnership between the two companies since an initial $1 billion investment in 2019. Several news outlets, including Bloomberg and Semafor, reported the latest investment from Microsoft would total $10 billion.
At the time of its announcement, Microsoft touted the impact that 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.
Earlier this month, 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.”
What Is ChatGPT, and How Does it Work?
ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that developer OpenAI released in late November. Built on the generative pretrained transformer family of language models, the easy-to-use tool quickly took the internet by storm. It set off an immediate discourse among educators, where some worried its ability to craft essay-length responses to prompts would usher in a wave of AI-powered cheating among students. Others asserted that the tool could enhance students’ ability to think critically and work with advanced technology, rather than against it.
Earlier this year, OpenAI released a tool to detect AI-generated text. The company cautioned that the tool “is imperfect and it will be wrong sometimes,” said Jan Leike, head of OpenAI’s alignment team tasked to make its systems safer, in a news report.
“It has both false positives and false negatives,” Leike told Axios.
Despite the controversy, Microsoft 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 month, noting that both would now be powered by an “AI co-pilot.” The new version of Bing will offer “complete answers” to search queries and include an interactive chat feature for more complex searches. The Edge browser will offer a compose feature and a chat function that can be used to ask the browser to summarize webpages, for example.
“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.