Microsoft invests $1 billion in OpenAI for AGI research and development. This seemingly normal business behavior has attracted extensive attention and discussion due to a series of factors, such as the difficulty of AGI research and development, the shift of OpenAI from open source to commercialization, and Microsoft’s hidden ambition. We might as well look at this matter from many angles and see what kind of thinking can be triggered under the diversified viewpoints.
On July 22, Microsoft announced an investment of 1 billion US dollars in OpenAI to build the next generation of supercomputers and platforms on Azure platform and accelerate the arrival of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence).
Through this investment, the two sides will also establish a deeper long-term cooperative relationship. Microsoft will become OpenAI’s primary partnership, OpenAI will become Azure’s major customer and will gradually complete the technology deployment on Azure.
Once the news was released, it triggered a heated discussion inside and outside the circle. What is worth pondering about behind seemingly ordinary business events?
Build AGI’s Vision and Join Forces
According to reports, $1 billion will eventually flow to OpenAI’s for-profit subsidiary OpenAI LP. According to the agreement, OpenAI can make on-demand calls to this fund. OpenAI plans to spend this huge sum within five years.
The official press release said, “The two sides of this cooperation will focus on building a computing platform in Azure to train and run advanced AI models, including Microsoft’s supercomputing hardware.
The key reason for them to choose each other is to implement these plans in a safe and reliable way. OpenAI will provide the precursor technology to realize AGI, while Microsoft will occupy the top position among partners. 」
Sam Altman, the co-founder of OpenAI, also stressed in a recent interview that “OpenAI’s current goal is to develop a universal AGI”.
General artificial intelligence is also called strong artificial intelligence
OpenAI, which is committed to establishing a moral AI, seems to be fully turning to building a leading AI and moving closer to AGI. This coincides with Microsoft’s desire to be at the forefront of technology.
Seemingly cooperative, is each taking what he needs?
There is no doubt that OpenAI will receive more resources in this cooperation and will be closer to achieving AGI’s goals. In addition to benefiting from this research fund, it may also promote their commercialization and raise more capital.
However, it may also cause them not to “Open”. For example, the progress of the project, specific details and open source code may not be easy to open source.
For Microsoft, this wave of operations also shows their ambition to develop in the open source field. Previously, Microsoft acquired GitHub and launched a developer sponsorship program GitHub Sponsors. Now, through its cooperation with OpenAI, Microsoft has become its “preferred” partner and has increased its competitive advantage.
Interface of GitHub Sponsors
At last year’s investor conference, Microsoft CEO Nadella said, “AI will become the key to the next technological change, for example, AI plays an important role in the construction of edge computing, cloud services, SaaS applications and even infrastructure. 」
He also pointed out that to become a leader in this trend, it is not enough to have the AI ability to use, but also to popularize it so that every enterprise can really benefit from it.
The cooperation with OpenAI seems to be part of this plan.
What do senior people think of this?
This was originally a cooperation between two technology companies. After the news was released, it was widely discussed in various social forums. So what do senior melon eaters think?
In addition to AGI marketing, cooperation with OpenAI can help Microsoft to enhance the value of Azure and keep it in the competition between Google and Amazon.
In the end, it is actually OpenAI’s future calculation cost and market size worth 1 billion US dollars.
-soumith chintala, Facebook engineer
Altman himself said that since OpenAI needs to buy a large amount of computing power, the money invested by Microsoft may also flow into his pocket.
According to the terms of the contract, Microsoft will become the only cloud computing provider for OpenAI, and most of the $1 billion will be in the calculation.
-Cadematz, Science and Technology Correspondent of new york Times
I can see two main motives from it:
For OpenAI, funds can be obtained and some hardware support can be obtained, thus contributing to the research and development of software.
For Microsoft, the heat of Azure is raised among AI developers.
-james wang, ARKInvest analyst
There are also some people who don’t like it very much. They say that this investment is only a purely commercial transaction, and they also question whether OpenAI will destroy the essence of the original “democratic” AI while turning to for-profit research.
It’s really cool to get a huge sum of money.
However, in the process of pursuing profits, I deliberately used misleading statements: first, I started the name of non-profit and then suddenly turned to the arms of profit-making organizations.
It’s like bullshit …
-Franois Hollet, Google Deep Learning Engineer
I can’t really understand its transformation into LP and accept Microsoft’s huge investment.
The whole incident seems to be a victory for capital.
Robin Sloan, writer
What is OpenAI? I don’t understand it at first.
A non-profit organization with normal capital flow, which has been quietly making contributions to open sources for many years, suddenly prepares to switch to profit-making methods and also seeks third-party authorization to close technologies. Is it really just because of the so-called AGI?
Stephen Merity, Research Fellow in Deep Learning
What we need is not something commercial, but knowledge that can be used by everyone at any time.
The challenge is great, right?
Returning to the incident itself, when will the good wish AGI of letting them join hands come true?
The hero of the sci-fi movie “Machiji” is a form of AGI
In a recent survey, some professionals estimated that the chance of creating AGI by 2099 was 50%. Statistics from the new york Times show that most people think AGI will not come soon, and the worst will not come for centuries.
Altman himself said frankly that OpenAI is very challenging to meet its expectations. However, everything has already started.
One possible reason why Microsoft chose to invest US$ 1 billion in five years is that they do not have enough money and time to study AGI for themselves.
OpenAI has always left a deep impression on the scientific and technological community because of its innovation in AI. For example, in April, the game AI developed by OpenAI defeated the human professional team in the complicated Dota 2 competition.
Earlier, they released a powerful text generation model GPT-2, which also excelled in writing and was enough to confuse the real with the fake.
So what kind of results will be brought about after this cooperation, and whether AGI will really come faster, perhaps it can only wait for their concrete actions.