Microsoft Invests $1B USD In Elon Musk's Project To Replicate The Human Brain

Founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman in late 2015, OpenAI is a for-profit corporation that specialises in researching sustainable AI and its applications. Although the firm is not as known as Musk’s other endevours such as Tesla and Space X, its mission is just as admirable, that being : “to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI)—by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity.“

Our mission is to ensure that AGI technology benefits all of humanity, and we’re working with Microsoft to build the supercomputing foundation on which we’ll build AGI.

So far in history AI systems created have been very specialised, whether it be writing text or image generation the approach has been to make a deep neural network which is fine tuned to work towards solving one of these problems. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) however, should be able to learn any field at the highest level and apply the knowledge. This means that the exact same system could be used to try and detect cancer as well as work out the optimal amount of fuel needed to send a satellite into space. Although an ambitious project this is what OpenAI has been working towards since its inception.

CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, pictured at the company’s Build developer conference, says the company’s collaboration with OpenAI will help to democratize artificial intelligence while keeping safety as a key value, aiming to ensure “that the robots stay on our side”. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, pictured at the company’s Build developer conference, says the company’s collaboration with OpenAI will help to democratize artificial intelligence while keeping safety as a key value, aiming to ensure “that the robots stay on our side”. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

On July 22nd, Microsoft decided to help OpenAI reach the goal of a “artificial general intelligence (AGI) with widely distributed economic benefits”, by investing 1 billion USD into the cause. This investment also comes with cooperation with Microsoft’s Azure platform where OpenAI will help develop new Azure AI supercomputing technologies and in exchange Microsoft will become OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider.

OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman said:

The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity,

One of the reasons a partnership like this is almost necessary for a firm like OpenAI is that the in order to keep producing a sequence of increasingly powerful AI technologies they will need a lot of costly capital for computational power. This would mean that OpenAI would have to build a product and sell it in order to fund the costly capital rather than the research driven projects being carried out currently. This collaboration allows OpenAi to license some of its pre-AGI technologies, with Microsoft becoming their preferred partner to commercialise them.

Although a long way away, if developed with the right principles in mind (artificial general intelligence with widely distributed economic benefits)AGI is sure to bring benefits to many fields due to its ability to learn and apply anything. However not many firms are looking into a general AI due to it not being useful, as most firms only need AI for a few tasks.This means that the arrival of AGI may not come as soon as more specialised AI systems.

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