Jan 16 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said Monday it was expanding access to wildly popular software from OpenAI, a startup it backs and whose futuristic chatbot ChatGPT has captivated Silicon Valley.
Microsoft said the startup’s technology, which it has so far previewed to its cloud computing customers in a program called Azure OpenAI Service, is now generally available, a distinction that should lead to a flood of new uses.
The news comes as Microsoft plans to increase the $1 billion stake in OpenAI it announced in 2019, two people familiar with the matter previously told Reuters. The Semafor news site reported earlier this month that Microsoft may invest $10 billion; Microsoft declined to comment on any potential deal.
Public interest in OpenAI grew after the November release of ChatGPT, a text-based chatbot that can write prose, poetry or even computer code on command. ChatGPT is powered by generative artificial intelligence, which conjures up new content after training on large amounts of data – a technology that Microsoft is enabling more customers to use.
ChatGPT itself, not just its underlying technology, will soon be available through Microsoft’s cloud, he said in a blog post.
Microsoft said it reviews customer applications to mitigate potential abuse of the software, and its filters can filter out harmful content that users might enter or the technology might produce.
The commercial potential of this software has prompted massive venture capital investments in the startups that produce it, at a time when funding has otherwise dried up. Already, some companies have used the technology to create marketing content or show how to negotiate a cable bill.
Microsoft said CarMax, KPMG and others use its Azure OpenAI service. Its press release quotes an Al Jazeera vice president as saying the service could help the news agency summarize and translate content.
Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin; Editing by Leslie Adler
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