Microsoft Makes $1 Billion OpenAI Investment As It Sips From Artificial General Intelligence Holy Grail

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OpenAI has been given a big vote of confidence from Microsoft, which today announced a massive investment into the company. OpenAI is a research lab that counts Elon Musk as a co-founder and has a mission to "ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity."

Microsoft has agreed to invest $1 billion into OpenAI in exchange for a multi-year partnership that will see a free-flowing exchange of ideas between the two companies. One takeaway from this new deal is that Microsoft will now become the exclusive cloud computing platform provider for AI, which is a big boost for Azure. Microsoft and OpenAI have also agreed to jointly develop new artificial intelligence technologies for the foreseeable future.

satya nadella
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (L), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (R)

In addition, Microsoft will commercialize OpenAI technology, although exact details on this avenue weren't discussed by the two companies. The end goal is to help advance artificial general intelligence (AGI) to help move beyond tasks such as vision and language processing towards solving problems like climate change and advancing healthcare for patients. AGI is being promoted as functioning more like a human being instead of being defined by rigid constraints.

“By bringing together OpenAI’s breakthrough technology with new Azure AI supercomputing technologies, our ambition is to democratize AI — while always keeping AI safety front and center — so everyone can benefit," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity,” said OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. "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.”

OpenAI hasn't exactly reach the AGI holy grail at this time, but it has made huge leaps in thinking like [and outplaying] humans -- at least on the digital battlefield. OpenAI bots have regularly been slaughtering human components in games like Dota 2 using neural networks. Nearly a year ago, those bots claimed victory over some of the best Dota 2 players in the world.