Microsoft Landed the Rights to Exclusively License OpenAI’s GPT-3

The deal is an extension of an ongoing partnership between the two tech companies

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Remember GPT-3? The AI that wrote a very convincing article for The Guardian about how humans have nothing to fear when it comes to AI? Well, it’s about to get a lot more sophisticated.

Microsoft has extended its ongoing partnership with OpenAI, a world-leading AI research organization and creator of GPT-3. Microsoft has been granted exclusive rights to license GPT-3 which, the company’s Executive Vice President and CTO, Kevin Scott, wrote in a blog post, will allow them to, “leverage its technical innovations to develop and deliver advanced AI solutions for our customers, as well as create new solutions that harness the amazing power of advanced natural language generation.”

Microsoft began working with OpenAI last June when Microsoft made a huge $1 billion investment in the company. The two companies have since been working on a supercomputer – “a custom-designed, Azure-hosted home” – which they say will be used to continue to power and train OpenAI’s “equally massive AI models.” The deal also meant that Microsoft would be OpenAI’s “preferred partner for commercializing new AI technologies”. 

Between then and now, OpenAI announced their groundbreaking GPT-3: an autoregressive language model that, by being fed an “unprecedented” amount of data (45TB of text data), is able to reproduce scarily human-like text. GPT-3 is available on OpenAI’s Azure-hosted API and, the company says, this new deal will have “no impact on continued access to the GPT-3 model through OpenAI’s API, and existing and future users of it will continue building applications with our API as usual.”

If that’s the case, then, what are Microsoft actually getting exclusive rights to? Speaking to The Verge, a spokesperson for Microsoft said: “its exclusive license gives it unique access to the underlying code of GPT-3, which contains technical advancements it hopes to integrate into its products and services.”

In the blog post announcing the extension, Scott writes: 

We see this as an incredible opportunity to expand our Azure-powered AI platform in a way that democratizes AI technology, enables new products, services and experiences, and increases the positive impact of AI at Scale. Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, so we want to make sure that this AI platform is available to everyone – researchers, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, businesses – to empower their ambitions to create something new and interesting.

He goes on to see that the commercial and creative scope of GPT-3 is “profound” and says the possibilities of how this AI model can be used to aid human creativity and ingenuity “are limited only by the ideas and scenarios we bring to the table.”

The company pledged to continue to move forward with OpenAI, both using the company and GPT-3’s capabilities to enhance their own products and moving forward to “leverage and democratize” the power of their cutting-edge AI research.

“That future will be what we make of it,” Scott says, “and I believe that we’re on the right track.”

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