Yesterday, Reuters reported about Microsoft’s announcement. It turns out Microsoft will invest $1 billion in San Francisco’s non-profit organization OpenAI. At the same time, the two sides also reached a multi-year cooperation agreement to develop artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputing technology on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service platform.
In 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other Silicon Valley technology tycoons made a continuous dialogue and decided to jointly create OpenAI, a non-profit organization. They were hoping to prevent the catastrophic impact of artificial intelligence. Subsequently, a few Silicon Valley investors Sam Altman, Peter Thiel, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and others promised to invest $1 billion in OpenAI.
Earlier this year, OpenAI created a related for-profit entity to absorb external investments. OpenAI also said at the time that there was a ceiling on the return of investors who invested funds in the for-profit entity. But today, the two sides did not disclose the maximum return on Microsoft’s $1 billion investment.
Since its inception, OpenAI has made some progress in the field of AI, including teaching robotic arms to perform human-like tasks entirely in software, thereby reducing the cost and time of training robots. In addition, OpenAI is also committed to the security and social impact of artificial intelligence.
For this investment, OpenAI said today that it will help the agency continue to develop ‘Artificial general intelligence’ (AGI). In the future, OpenAI will transfer many services to Azure, and Microsoft will become its ‘preferred’ partner to commercialize new services.
The two firms also declined to say whether Microsoft’s investment would be made in cash, or whether it would involve credits for the Azure cloud computing service. But cloud services are an important expense for OpenAI, which was noted in 2017 as $7.9 million, accounting for a quarter of total annual operating expenses.