Microsoft has announced a deepening of its partnership with the company behind the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT by announcing a multibillion dollar investment in the business.
It said the deal with OpenAI would involve deploying the company’s artificial intelligence models across Microsoft products, which include the Bing search engine and its office software such as Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.
ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot, has been a sensation since it launched in November, with users marvelling at its ability to perform a variety of tasks from writing recipes and sonnets to job applications. It is at the forefront of generative AI, or technology trained on vast amounts of text and images that can create content from a simple text prompt.
It has also been described as “a gamechanger” that will challenge teachers in universities and schools amid concerns that pupils are already using the chatbot to write high-quality essays with minimal human input.
In a blog post announcing “the third phase” of its partnership, Microsoft said the investment would include additional supercomputer development and cloud-computing support for OpenAI via its Azure platform. It has been previously reported that Microsoft was considering a $10bn (£8bn) investment in OpenAI this time round.
“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratise AI as a new technology platform,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chairman and chief executive.
“In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organisations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchain with Azure to build and run their applications.”
Monday’s announcement is Microsoft’s third investment in San Francisco-based OpenAI, which was co-founded by Elon Musk and the investor Sam Altman. As part of the investments, Microsoft has since built a supercomputer to power OpenAI’s technology, among other forms of support.
Dan Ives, analyst at the US financial services firm Wedbush Securities, said: “With ChatGPT being one of the most innovative AI technologies seen in the industry, [Microsoft] is clearly being aggressive on this front and not going to be left behind on what could be a potential gamechanging AI investment.
“In the AI race today, Nadella & Co are ahead of the rest of Big Tech and this investment is a major notch on the AI belt.”