The AI lab gets to throw Microsoft's supercomputing and cloud computing muscle at its bid to build artificial general intelligence (AGI).
The news: Microsoft says OpenAI will help it jointly develop and train new technologies for its Azure cloud computing service. It will work with it to develop new supercomputing hardware to try to achieve AGI-machines with the capacity to learn tasks the way human beings do. That's a holy grail of AI that still remains (and may always remain) out of reach. OpenAI's founders, which include Elon Musk and other tech leaders, including AGI could help solve long-standing challenges in areas ranging from climate change to health care.
Go big or go home: The investment is part of Microsoft's new strategy and will help keep firm pace with rivals like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, which have all spent big on AI in recent years.
While many researchers believe AGI is unachievable, OpenAI may hope to reach it by massively scaling existing deep-learning approaches rather than by developing new ones. There is no guarantee that the problem will be cracked if the can be cracked, so Microsoft's billion-dollar bet is definitely a risky one.
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