INTERNATIONAL - Microsoft Corp said on Monday it was investing $1 billion in San Francisco-based OpenAI and that the two had formed a multi-year partnership to develop artificial intelligence supercomputing technologies on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service.
OpenAI was founded in 2015 as a nonprofit with $1 billion in funding from Silicon Valley investors Sam Altman, Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, among others. Earlier this year, the group created a related for-profit entity to take in outside investment.
Since its founding, OpenAI has employed artificial intelligence researchers to make advances in the field, such as teaching a robotic hand to perform human-like tasks entirely in software, cutting down the cost and time to train robots.
The group has also focused on the safety and social implications of AI, researching how computers can generate realistic news stories with little more than headline suggestions and warning researchers to consider how their work and algorithms might be misused by bad actors before publishing them.
OpenAI said the Microsoft investment would help it pursue “artificial general intelligence,” or AGI. An AGI is the holy grail of the field and would mean the computing system can master a subject as well or better than the best humans in the world - and master more fields than any single human.