Microsoft is giving more people — or at least more customers — access to OpenAI’s technologies, including ChatGPT. The tech giant has announced that it’s now making the Azure OpenAI Service generally available after giving a limited number of enterprise customers access to it when it debuted in November 2021. As Bloomberg notes, customers who have access to the service can use various OpenAI tools for their own cloud applications, including the Dall-E AI art generator and the GPT-3.5 language system. Microsoft says it’s also adding access to ChatGPT, which it describes as a “fine-tuned version of GPT-3.5,” to the service “soon.”
The tech giant has been associated with OpenAI ever since it invested $1 billion in the Elon Musk-founded startup back in 2019. This announcement comes shortly after reports were published that Microsoft is in talks to invest an additional $10 billion in the company. “These [AI] models are going to change the way that people interact with computers,” Microsoft’s head of AI platforms Eric Boyd previously told The Financial Times in an interview.
While OpenAI has been around for a while, it was recently thrust into the spotlight following ChatGPT’s debut. The program has the ability to return long, coherent answers that aren’t immediately recognizable as machine-generated responses. It was good enough to alarm educators, who expressed concerns that it could be used for cheating. Earlier this month, New York City public schools banned ChatGPT from school devices and WiFi networks.
The Information also previously reported that Microsoft was planning to integrate the OpenAI software powering ChatGPT into Bing. While it’s still unclear what the software could do for the search engine, sources said it could enable Bing to return results in a format that’s friendlier and easier to digest. ChatGPT is available for free at the moment, but OpenAI intends to make money off it in the future and has already opened a waitlist for those interested in testing a paid version of the bot.
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