Microsoft In Advanced Talks To Give OpenAI More Funding As Companies Rush To Use AI

Microsoft is in advanced talks for a new round of funding in OpenAI, as the software and tech giant further builds artificial intelligence (AI) into its products, according to several reports.

In 2019, Microsoft backed the startup with $1 billion in capital that included credits to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing services to develop its technology.

The Information reports that a new deal could help Microsoft grow Azure’s use, while keeping OpenAI’s business away from rivals including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

OpenAI earlier this year launched Dall-E 2, a project that allowed users to generate art from strings of text and showed the rapid advances being made in that segment of AI technology.

Last week, Microsoft announced the integration of Dall-E 2 -- a project that allows users to generate art from strings of text -- into its browser Edge, and search engine, Bing. The company also showed advances being made in that segment of AI technology to build out content.



Designer, a Microsoft web app, can generate designs for presentations, posters, digital postcards, invitations, and graphics to share on social media and other media channels.

The extent to which companies will go to invest in AI is not surprising. Google has embedded AI technology in many of its products, using it as a backbone for many of its projects across advertising.

MIT Technology Review reports that Google Researchers have developed a new AI system that can create natural-sounding speech and music after being prompted with a few seconds of audio.

AudioLM generates audio that fits the style of the prompt -- including complex sounds such as piano music or people speaking -- in a way that is almost indistinguishable from the original recording, according to the report.

“The technique shows promise for speeding up the process of training AI to generate audio, and it could eventually be used to auto-generate music to accompany videos,” according to MIT Technology Review.

Google also has developed its own image-generating model, but has been slower to release them to the public, partly due to ethical concerns, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Brands such as Stitch Fix, Nestlé and Heinz are said to have piloted DALL-E 2 for ad campaigns and other commercial use, while certain architectural firms have used DALL-E 2 and tools to conceptualize new buildings. As the user adds more content such as images or text, the “design ideas” feature integrates the content in the design with one click.

Microsoft said Designer will remain free during a limited time. In time, Microsoft will make it available in 365 Personal and Family subscriptions and offer some functions free to use for non-subscribers.

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