Microsoft has announced a collaboration with AI research group OpenAI. The partnership will see OpenAI adopt Microsoft Azure cloud services as its “preferred” platform for artificial intelligence development. Microsoft will also get access to experts and robotics that work for the nonprofit group.
OpenAI is a nonprofit organization focused on researching and developing AI. It is a $1 billion funded group that counts Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Y Combinator President Sam Altman as its cofounders. With access to OpenAI's, Microsoft can use the group's resources to increase AI software in Azure.
“We're also excited that OpenAI chose Microsoft Azure as their primary cloud platform,” Microsoft says in a blog post. “OpenAI chose Microsoft due to our deep learning research and ongoing commitment to AI, along with Azure's support for open source technologies and its unique combination of high performance computing, big data and intelligence capabilities such as Azure Batch, Azure Machine Learning and the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (formerly CNTK).”
Microsoft is preparing itself for a new battle in the cloud service space. Both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud are exploring artificial intelligence solutions. Microsoft knows that all cloud apps will eventually have some AI elements.
The company is pushing its Cognitive Toolkit platform as the go-to cloud solution for implementing AI.
It is the underpinning of such services as Microsoft's Skype and Cortana. OpenAI focuses on developing new AI techniques, so it is an ideal partner for Microsoft.
Openness is key to Microsoft's AI aspirations. The company points out that it is “democratizing AI” so that it is available to everyone. Making artificial intelligence open is an ethos that Microsoft shares with OpenAI, making the two perfect collaborators. The company says its AI growth has been consistent, but will reach a new level in coming years.
“We've made major strides in artificial intelligence just in the past five years, achieving milestones many people who have devoted their lives to the field wouldn't have thought possible. Now, we have the opportunity to help our partners and customers use these breakthroughs to achieve their goals.”