The newly announced investment will help OpenAI keep up with deep-pocketed companies such as Google LLC and Facebook Inc. that are run own cutting-edge AI research initiatives.

With its fortune made from creating instructions for desktop computers, Microsoft is betting $1 billion on machines figuring things out independently. They are investing in OpenAI, a young company among a few worldwide pursuing AGI, the commonly-used acronym for artificial general intelligence.

For its $1 billion, Microsoft gets a first look at OpenAI’s progress.

Analysts say that may be useful for Microsoft’s Azure cloud services and other plans in its development pipeline. In turn, OpenAI gains access to Microsoft’s infrastructure, which can help speed its development.

AGI is a still-theoretical form of AI where machines would acquire knowledge and perform multiple tasks autonomously, more like the way humans behave in the world. In contrast, present AI systems specialize in single tasks and are considered narrow AI.

Expert estimates vary about when machines may equal or exceed humans in ability — from decades to more than 100 years away. Silicon Angle describes how both Microsoft and OpenAI gain strategic benefits much sooner.

OpenAI was initially funded with $1 billion from a high-profile investor syndicate that included Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, others) and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn.)


  • OpenAI now shares centre stage in AGI development with Deepmind, the London-based lab owned by Alphabet and still operating under its original identity and management.
  • Deepmind is best known for AlphaGo, their reinforcement learning AI model that beat the world’s best GO player in four out of five games, as well as several other breakthroughs, mostly in game environments.
  • OpenAI is known for a steady series of smaller advances, including GPT-2, the text-generating AI model deemed by the company ‘too dangerous to release’ in its entirety because of its ease in generating convincing-but-fake text. Soon after they showed the same platform making original tunes when prompted by only a few notes. OpenAI models also are highly competitive in multiplayer strategy games and enable precision dexterity by robots.
  • Several leading computer scientists continue to challenge whether AGI is possible — saying talk of prospects is overhyped — making this investment by Microsoft a statement of support for the concept as well as an injection of capital.
  • Even at this scale, Microsoft cash is no guarantee of positive results. AGI evolution is still in its early stages, and development has proven costly. But identifying more blind allies is another form of progress — knowing what not to pursue and perhaps why.


Microsoft teams up with OpenAI in new $1B artificial intelligence partnership | SILICON ANGLE | July 22, 2019 | by Maria Deutscher