Microsoft Invests $1B in Artificial Intelligence Startup

The company is partnering with Elon Musk’s OpenAI to build artificial intelligence that can tackle tasks that humans can do.
Microsoft Invests $1B in Artificial Intelligence Startup

Microsoft is investing $1 billion to partner with Elon Musk’s OpenAI to focus on creating artificial general intelligence — an AI system that can learn and understand intellectual tasks that humans can do.

“The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity,” said Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. “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.

The investment ensures that OpenAI work is done on a computational platform in Azure. Getting more things running on Azure helps Microsoft compete with Amazon Web Services, which the company sees as its competitor. OpenAI will port its services to run on Microsoft Azure, which it will use to create new AI technologies and deliver on the promise of artificial general intelligence.

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“AI is one of the most transformative technologies of our time and has the potential to help solve many of our world’s most pressing challenges,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

The companies will train and run increasingly advanced AI models including hardware technologies building on Microsoft’s supercomputing technology.

In other Microsoft news, the company agreed to pay $25 million to settle an SEC investigation into possible violations of a law prohibiting bribery of foreign government officials, a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

According to the SEC, Microsoft’s subsidiary in Hungary provided discounts on software licenses, and instead of passing on the discounts to its government customers, the discounts were used to fund improper payments intended for foreign government officials to secure software license sales for Microsoft.

The SEC said Microsoft’s subsidiaries in Saudi Arabia and Thailand “provided improper travel and gifts to foreign government officials and employees of non-government customers funded through slush funds maintained by Microsoft’s vendors and resellers.” The SEC also found that Microsoft’s subsidiary in Turkey provided “an excessive discount to an unauthorized third party in a licensing transaction for which Microsoft’s records do not reflect any services provided.”

As part of the settlement, Microsoft neither admitted nor denied the misconduct described by the SEC.

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft stock was trading at $138.80, up .37 cents, an increase of 0.26%. The stock opened at $139.76, with a high of $139.99 and a low of $138.03.