Microsoft is partnering its artificial intelligence research arm with Elon Musk's nonprofit OpenAI, announcing the "industry's first cloud bot-as-a-service" on Microsoft Azure.

Under the arrangement, OpenAI will be able to tap Microsoft's virtual machine technology to run large-scale artificial intelligence simulation and training exercises, while Microsoft will have state-of-the-art research on Azure.

Artificial intelligence has enabled various perks such as real-time translation, smart digital assistants and more, but it's not readily accessible to everyone.

Democratizing AI

"At Microsoft, we believe everyone deserves to be able to take advantage of these breakthroughs, in both their work and personal lives," says Microsoft.

"In short, we are committed to democratizing AI and making it accessible to everyone."

Microsoft adds that OpenAI has the same endeavors, which is why the two companies have decided to team up and work on advancing the field of artificial intelligence and leverage the power of AI to address challenging problems the world is facing.

Elon Musk and San Altman of Y Combinator founded OpenAI last December, pledging a hefty $1 billion to the nonprofit AI research venture. OpenAI aims to develop artificial intelligence that has positive impacts on society in the long run, rather than just creating software for profit.

Why This Matters

OpenAI has some of the world's best AI experts working on research that could help drive machine intelligence advancements and make essential breakthroughs. Moreover, OpenAI is a nonprofit organization and is committed to sharing its knowledge and breakthroughs and collaborate with others to push its goals.

Microsoft Research, meanwhile, has substantially contributed to open-source technologies and has pledged not to own and restrict knowledge, on the contrary. The company wants to have cutting-edge research on Microsoft Azure cloud computing to prove how it works and to encourage other companies to follow suit.

Since every company that taps Microsoft Azure as its cloud platform has to pay for the cloud services, Microsoft stands to benefit even more. On a larger scale, Microsoft aims to rival Facebook and Google, both of which have been investing billions of dollars in machine intelligence.

The new partnership with OpenAI better positions Microsoft has a major player on the AI scene and the breakthroughs that result from this collaboration could benefit the whole world.

Azure Bot Service

In addition to this new collaboration with OpenAI, Microsoft has also announced a new Azure Bot Service, promoting it as the "industry's first cloud bot-as-a-service." The Azure Bot Service will allow developers to speed up their bot development using the Microsoft Bot Framework, as well as deploy and manage their bots in a server-less environment on Azure.

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