Where do you stand in terms of artificial intelligence changing and shaping our future? Are you on the side that thinks AI will ultimately destroy the world or do you think it will enhance humanity? I am somewhere in between, where are you? As for Microsoft, there is no doubt the company is falling on the side of AI changing our world and is fully getting behind it for better or for worse.
In recent weeks, we have seen the company throw itself fully into AI, mostly alongside long-time partner – more than just a partner – OpenAI. Now, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella admits that the company is going all-in on artificial intelligence and folding it into all of its services.
Speaking this week on the Wall Street Journal panel at the World Economic Forum annual event in Switzerland, Nadella said the company is working to commercialize AI across its products. This comes the same day Microsoft made Azure OpenAI generally available with the ChatGPT chatbot coming soon.
“Every product of Microsoft will have some of the same AI capabilities to completely transform the product,” Mr. Nadella said.
OpenAI has been driving the AI surge across tech in the last few months. Microsoft is already a major contributor to OpenAI, being a previous $1 billion investor while looking to also invest $10 billion into the company. Furthermore, Microsoft has an exclusive license for OpenAI's GPT-3 API and has folded the group's technology into multiple services.
We have already seen Microsoft commercialize AI solutions, mostly from OpenAI. Microsoft is working on folding ChatGPT into Bing, while the company is also integrating the GPT API into its Office apps (Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint).
At Ignite 2022 last year, Microsoft announced its latest project with GPT-3. Specifically the integration of the OpenAI AI known as DALL∙E 2. This is a model that provides realistic AI images, generating them from art and adding natural language descriptions to them. Alongside support for the AI on Azure OpenAI Service, it is also available on Windows 11 through the new Microsoft Designer app.
Arguably the most influential – and most controversial – collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI is GitHub Copilot. Introduced in 2021, Copilot is a service that accesses available open source code to help developers fill gaps in their own code. It taps into work from Microsoft-owned GitHub and gives programmers tools to write code more efficiently and quickly.
For Nadella, this is just the beginning of the AI story and Microsoft will become increasingy focused and reliant on AI in the future.
“I'm not claiming by the way that this is the last innovation in AI. This is not linear progress… We need something that truly changes the productivity curve so we can have real economic growth,” he claims.
“The best way to prepare for it is not to bet against this technology, and this technology helping you in your job and your business process,” Mr. Nadella says.
Nadella also admits that ChatGPT and future iterations of it will be able to replace creative jobs, including those on the Wall Street Journal (and mine too).
“I think they'll (Wall Street Journal) be able to write great articles in the future relying on GPT.”
You May Not be Needed
That may be a joke, but it actually isn't. AI is charting a course for automation across the board and not just in productivity. Nadella's words come the same week a group of creatives are suing three organizations (Midjourney, Stability AI, and DeviantArt) who are accused of abusing copyrights of “millions of artists” through the training of their AI. Specifically, the AI models scraped over five billion works to learn, “without the consent of the original artists”.
This lawsuit is being led by the legal team that is also currently suing Microsoft, OpenAI, and GitHub over the GitHub Copilot service.
We can debate the dangers of AI to eventually become sentient and take control over humanity. That is a science fiction outcome that is interestingly not outside the realm of probability. However, the more real danger AI presents is how it will make many parts of human thought and creativity obsolete. Make no mistake AI is coming for your creativity and Microsoft is one of the companies leading the assault.
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