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Microsoft has invested $1 billion in the AI research lab OpenAI, an investment that paves the way for future partnerships between the two companies and helps OpenAI move toward its goal of creating artificial general intelligence (AGI).
The deal also sees OpenAI porting existing services to Microsoft Azure (and using the cloud tech to create new AI technologies), jointly building new Azure AI supercomputing tech in partnership with Microsoft, and working with Microsoft to commercialize new AI technologies down the road.
OpenAI is one of the AI research labs that has previously turned to video games to better train and evaluate the behavior of its AI agents. In the past, the company has trained AI agents on Quake III and Dota 2, and teamed up with or even played against professional teams.
The company itself was set up as a non-profit research firm in 2015, but created a for-profit arm earlier this year to solicit the investments it needs to push its AI research even further. The deal with Microsoft aims to give the company more resources to put towards that AGI goal.
“AI is one of the most transformative technologies of our time and has the potential to help solve many of our world’s most pressing challenges,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a press release. “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.”