Microsoft’s potential $10 billion investment in OpenAI, a San Francisco research firm, is shaping up to be the AI industry’s deal of the century. If the US software giant is correct about the technology’s far-reaching consequences, it may also set off a realignment in the AI industry, with rival tech giants racing to make their claim in the emerging area of generative AI.
Last month, OpenAI made news across the world with the release of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence system that can both respond to questions and generate writing in a human-like manner.
Microsoft officials, though, are certain that the service’s underlying technology will eventually have a more significant influence on the IT industry as a whole. Microsoft predicts that the widespread use of these AI models will fundamentally alter the manner in which computer users interact with their devices. Everyday interactions with technology will be transformed when talking to a computer is as natural as talking to a human. If Microsoft were to invest, it would get a sizeable minority ownership in OpenAI, valuing the company at $29 billion post-investment. Microsoft opted not to provide a statement.
Amid the waning interest in once-hot investment trends like blockchain and cryptocurrency, this potentially historic investment comes at a time when venture capitalists are scrambling to support the current AI trend. In 2019, Microsoft announced a historic $1 billion investment in OpenAI, solidifying the company’s position as the technological platform for OpenAI’s demanding AI models and granting Microsoft exclusive rights to commercialize OpenAI’s innovations.
Executives at the software behemoth have said that their usage of OpenAI’s innovation in a few of their own products is only the beginning. Starting in 2021, it began charging for access to GPT-3, an artificial intelligence model used to generate text. Dall-E 2 forms the backbone of Microsoft’s new Designer graphic design software and may be accessed through the Bing search engine. Meanwhile, GitHub, a Microsoft site for developers, has commercialized Codex, a system that suggests which lines of code programmers should write next.