In recent months, Microsoft and artificial intelligence (AI) research organization OpenAI have announced a series of partnerships to deliver innovative solutions. In July of 2019, OpenAI received a $1 billion investment from Microsoft. In May, Microsoft expanded its partnership with OpenAI and announced the creation of “one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.” This supercomputer is Azure-hosted and serves as a training ground for OpenAI’s AI models.
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With 175 billion parameters, OpenAI’s language model GPT-3 is “the largest and most advanced language model in the world,” per Microsoft. A new deal between the two companies will enable Microsoft to leverage the natural language model to deliver new innovative solutions. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced an exclusive GPT-3 licensing agreement with OpenAI.
“We see this as an incredible opportunity to expand our Azure-powered AI platform in a way that democratizes AI technology, enables new products, services and experiences, and increases the positive impact of AI at Scale,” said Kevin Scott, executive VP and CTO at Microsoft, in a recent blog about the license.
The announcement coincided with Microsoft’s annual Ignite developer conference held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Scott imagines a vast range of potential applications for the natural language model although “most of which we haven’t even imagined yet.”
In general, Scott details using the capabilities of GPT-3 to aid human ingenuity and creativity, specifically noting the fields of composition and writing. Innovative applications could involve using the model to describe and summarize “large blocks of long-form data (including code),” convert natural language into other languages, and more.
SEE: AI: New GPT-3 language model takes NLP to new heights (TechRepublic)
Outside of these more concrete solutions, Scott emphasizes the broad untapped potential of the licensing stating that “the possibilities are limited only by the ideas and scenarios that we bring to the table.”
“Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, so we want to make sure that this AI platform is available to everyone – researchers, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, businesses – to empower their ambitions to create something new and interesting,” Scott said.
OpenAI API and Microsoft licensing
In June, OpenAI commercialized an API featuring GPT-3. As OpenAI notes in a separate press release, the deal with Microsoft will have “no impact on continued access to the GPT-3 model through OpenAI’s API.” Those currently using the API as well as future users will still be able to create applications using the system. OpenAI launched the product in a private beta to allow the organization and academic partners to “test and assess the capabilities and limitations of these powerful language models.”