Microsoft’s New Azure OpenAI Service Shares GPT-3 Language Model With Enterprise Partners
Microsoft introduced a new tool bringing OpenAI’s much-hyped GPT-3 language model to at least a few of its enterprise customers. The invite-only Azure OpenAI Service augments the Azure Cognitive Service OpenAI’s API, including GPT-3. Microsoft has an exclusive licensing deal for GPT-3, but companies angling for invites will need Microsoft’s approval for how they plan to use the tech and accept Microsoft’s monitoring for potential misuse, including language filters.
Microsoft is pitching the Azure OpenAI Service as a combination of GPT -3’s linguistic AI power and Azure’s tried-and-tested capabilities with large enterprises. The tech giant suggested its clients might use the new service for multiple projects, including building an app without learning to code, summarizing long transcripts into concise reports, and coming up with ideas for advertising and marketing content. The 175 billion parameters and unsupervised learning are what made GPT-3 the center of conversational AI discussion last year, as it suggested the model would sound very close to humans and not require deliberate training by a human being. The potential of the model led Microsoft to invest $1 billion in future OpenAI research as part of the licensing deal.
“We are just in the beginning stages of figuring out what the power and potential of GPT-3 is, which is what makes it so interesting. Now we are taking what OpenAI has released and making it available with all the enterprise promises that businesses need to move into production,” Microsoft Azure AI corporate vice president Eric Boyd said. “We expect to learn with our customers, and we expect the responsible AI areas to be places where we learn what things need more polish. This is a really critical area for AI generally and with GPT-3 pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with AI, we need to make sure we’re right there on the forefront to make sure we are using it responsibly.”
The Azure OpenAI Service is a big step up from Microsoft’s initial integration of GPT-3 into the low-code Power Apps programming tool. GPT-3 gives Power Apps users a way to craft a program from a conversational description of its goal. The company also put the model into Github Copilot, which turns the AI into a pair programmer. Copilot relies on Codex, which instructs the AI in translating plain language instructions into computer languages.
Microsoft’s exclusive deal doesn’t apply to the GPT-3 API launched last June, but there’s an enormous waitlist for that as well. There have also been a few venture-backed startups relying on GPT-3, such as universal autocomplete startup Compose.ai and enterprise writing assistant startup Copy.ai, which have raised $2.1 million and $2.9 million, respectively. Microsoft’s enormous commercial engine and extended tech ecosystem are hard to match for reaching OpenAI’s scaling goals for GPT-3, however.
“GPT-3 has really proven itself as the first powerful, general purpose model for natural language — it’s one model you can use for all these things, which developers love because you can try things very easily,” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said. “For a while now, we’ve wanted to figure out a way to scale it as broadly as possible, which is part of the thing that really excites us about the partnership with Microsoft.”