Microsoft and OpenAI join forces in the quest for artificial general intelligence

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Microsoft has announced a $1 billion investment in OpenAI as part of a shared ambition to achieve the holy grail of artificial general intelligence (AGI).

If you’ve spent your life binging on sci-fi flicks and shows, today’s AI is far from the likes of HAL and Jarvis. For those kinds of experiences, AGI is needed.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, said:

“The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity. Our mission is to ensure that AGI technology benefits all of humanity, and we’re working with Microsoft to build the supercomputing foundation on which we’ll build AGI.

We believe it’s crucial that AGI is deployed safely and securely and that its economic benefits are widely distributed. We are excited about how deeply Microsoft shares this vision.”

Whereas AI is essentially pre-programmed to perform set tasks, the promise of AGI is to act more like a human brain. Indeed, this is where the excitement of assistants like the aforementioned turn into concerns of a Skynet-like AI as portrayed in Terminator.

Elon Musk founded OpenAI in part due to his concerns that AGI could pose an existential risk if developed carelessly. OpenAI most recently made headlines for developing essentially a fake news generator that, for obvious reasons, it deemed too dangerous to release.

Musk departed OpenAI in February last year over disagreement’s with the company’s development, but the San Francisco-based firm continues to pursue AGI.

Microsoft is clearly on-board with OpenAI’s mission. The $1 billion investment ensures Microsoft becomes OpenAI’s exclusive provider of cloud computing services to OpenAI, and the pair will build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, commented:

“AI is one of the most transformative technologies of our time and has the potential to help solve many of our world’s most pressing challenges.

By bringing together OpenAI’s breakthrough technology with new Azure AI supercomputing technologies, our ambition is to democratise AI — while always keeping AI safety front and centre — so everyone can benefit.”

Both companies promise developments will adhere to their ‘shared principles on ethics and trust,’ and will ‘create the foundation for advancements in AI to be implemented in a safe, secure, and trustworthy way’.

The goal of Microsoft and OpenAI is a lofty one that may not even be achieved in many of our lifetimes. In a recent survey of some leading experts in the field, the average estimate was there is a 50 percent chance AGI will be developed by 2099.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and their use cases? Attend the co-located AI & Big Data Expo events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam to learn more. Co-located with the IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo.

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