Microsoft announced Monday that it is expanding access to wildly popular software from OpenAI, a startup it backs, whose futuristic chatbot ChatGPT has captivated Silicon Valley.
Microsoft said the startup’s technology, which it has so far previewed to its cloud computing customers in a program it calls Azure OpenAI Service, was now generally available, a distinction expected to bring a flood of new uses.
The news comes as Microsoft considered adding to the $1 billion stake in OpenAI it announced in 2019, two people familiar with the matter previously told Reuters. News site Semafor reported earlier this month that Microsoft might invest $10 billion. Microsoft declined to comment on any potential deal.
Public interest in OpenAI grew after the November launch of ChatGPT, a text-based chatbot that can compose prose, poetry or even computer code on command. ChatGPT is powered by genetic artificial intelligence, which creates new content after training on massive amounts of data — technology that Microsoft is enabling more customers to use.
ChatGPT itself, not just its underlying technology, will soon be available through Microsoft’s cloud, he said in a blog post.
Microsoft said it screens customers’ apps to mitigate potential abuse of the software, and its filters can check for harmful content that users might enter or technology generate.
The business potential of such software has garnered huge venture capital investment in startups that produce it at a time when funding has otherwise dried up. Already, some companies have used the technology to create marketing content or demonstrate how a cable bill could be negotiated.
Microsoft said CarMax, KPMG and others use its Azure OpenAI service. Its press release quoted an Al Jazeera vice president as saying the service could help the news organization summarize and translate content.