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Microsoft Will Exclusively License OpenAI’s GPT-3 Model

Although GPT-3 has a running start, be on the lookout for competition from Amazon and Google.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Yesterday, Microsoft announced it will exclusively license OpenAI’s GPT-3. With 175 billion parameters, it’s considered the largest and most advanced language model ever created.

While I don’t have a natural language processing (NLP) to-do list, Microsoft probably does. Here’s what could be on it, now that Microsoft has GPT-3 on speed dial:

  • Expand Azure cognitive services
  • Boost semantic search in Teams
  • Generate Word doc summaries
  • Advance Xbox in-game dialogue

TL;DR: This partnership is a BFD for NLP.

Acronyms and algorithms

Let’s rewind: GPT-3 is a massive neural network that uses deep learning to generate human-like text… convincingly. Here’s a visual explainer.

OpenAI, founded initially as a nonprofit in 2015, has been struggling to juggle a noble mission and monetization since it added a capped profit arm last year.

  • In June, OpenAI began commercializing its research via a cloud service to help reach its ultimate goal: artificial general intelligence (AGI) to benefit humanity.

MSFT + GPT-3 = ?

Good news for startups building on GPT-3: The deal shouldn’t affect existing users’ access to the API, according to OpenAI, and “existing and future users of it will continue building applications...as usual.”

  • Alan Walton, CTO of entertainment software startup Latitude, told us yesterday was a “normal Tuesday” since his team already uses OpenAI’s Azure-hosted API.
  • Email automation startup OthersideAI doesn’t foresee any major changes, either—though co-founder Miles Feldstein told us he predicts Microsoft will use GPT-3 to build a tool that competes with their own.

But, but, but: Some startups “will certainly have to adapt and meter their GPT-3 usage,” Jay Alammar, a machine learning engineer and blogger, told us. Regardless, Microsoft will have exclusive access to GPT-3's underlying code, which should give it a leg up on all fronts.

The competition: GPT-3 has a running start, but Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform will likely announce competing NLP models—maybe within the year.

  • “The potential for massive language models is too unpredictable for the major clouds to leave completely to OpenAI,” Alammar told us.
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Drones, automation, AI, and more. The technologies that will shape the future of business, all in one newsletter.