Microsoft took the fight to its competitors in the consumer space when it added the OpenAI’s GPT engine into its search engine Bing, and its Edge browser and now everyone is in love with a moody chat bot… What a time to be alive.
But this isn’t Microsoft’s first rodeo or even its first billion dollar investment into OpenAI.
First, the company was founded by a consortium that included Elon Musk and Amazon Web Services. Then it built out those awesome game bots that owned Dota champs, and took a little bit of tech from Google’s machine learning operations and built out a language transformer model.
The GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer, and the Transformer part was developed by Google Labs. On a basic level a language transformer predicts the next word in a sentence after training itself on a data set.
GPT-3 is trained on 175 billion parameters and uses its transformer machine learning abilities to take that next word guessing and apply it to other things, like generating code from a natural language text query.
Microsoft invested its first billion into OpenAI in 2020, it exclusively licensed the GPT model and set about deploying AI at scale on Azure. And then it baked it into its client-facing products as an easy way for non-coder employees to begin creating automations and little apps to make their work easier.
Microsoft calls this platform Power, erm, Platform. And Azure customers using this AI infused cloud power are generating an average of 4.5 billion words a day for hundreds of apps in production use across multiple sectors.
When Microsoft South Africa gave me the opportunity to sit in on a roundtable discussion with Vahé Torossian, Corporate Vice President for Business Applications, at the end of last year, I jumped at the chance, but sat on this audio until there was a major shift in the AI landscape.
Vahé has since announced that he’ll be leaving Microsoft this year, but I’m am very happy that I got to nerd out with him about the transformative moment we’re in right now with AI, before it was cool.
There’s a symbiosis that can exist between people and automation, but the path towards human and AI cooperation is unclear right now.
Full disclosure: I love Microsoft services and my Microsoft 365 account is something I cherish that has helped me a ton in work and in my personal life.
I’m happy that the company is taking the lead in the next technology arms race and will be watching closely as more startups take advantage of these new abilities.
But that’s a story for another day.
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