Microsoft has formed a partnership with not-for-profit organisation OpenAI.
The initiative is "focused on making significant contributions to advance the field of AI, while also furthering our mutual goal of using AI to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems".
OpenAI is a consortium assembled by some of the leading lights in the area, including Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever.
The team has already demonstrated that its OpenAI Gym will teach computers to think using video games.
Microsoft confirmed as part of the announcement that its Azure cloud platform will be the primary choice of the consortium.
"OpenAI chose Microsoft due to our deep learning research and ongoing commitment to AI, along with Azure’s support for open source technologies and its unique combination of high-performance computing, big data and intelligence capabilities such as Azure Batch, Azure Machine Learning and the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (formerly CNTK)," Microsoft said.
OpenAI is one of the first companies to adopt Azure N-Series Virtual Machines, which will be available more openly starting in December. These are aimed at deep learning, neural network training and high-end visualisation using the Nvidia Grid.
The cognitive toolkit has now been optimised for N-Series machines with Nvidia Tesla GPUs, and Pascal-based GPU support on Azure is next on the list.
The company has also introduced an Azure Bot Service which makes it easier to design, build and host bots on Azure, while Azure Functions can be used to maximise development agility.
Some 50,000 developers are already using the Microsoft Bot Framework, according to the company, and Cortana and Azure features are being used to "transform businesses".
OpenAI was set up as a response to concerns that AI research is led by capitalist forces that could make poor decisions that will end up posing threats to humanity.
Musk himself has spoken about this many times, warning it could be akin to summoning a devil that, once unleashed, cannot be stopped.
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