Thursday, 8 June 2023

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Microsoft sprinkles OpenAI everywhere to retain software partners

Microsoft sprinkles OpenAI everywhere to retain software partners

Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella speaks to attendees at Microsoft’s Build conference in Seattle on May 23, 2023.

Dan DeLong | Microsoft

If there’s one company that has popularized artificial intelligence in the past year, it’s the small but richly funded startup OpenAI, the entity behind viral chatbot ChatGPT.

This week at its Build conference for software developers, Microsoft made extensive use of its collaboration with the startup, in which it’s invested billions.

Front and center on Tuesday, the first day of the show, was a onstage conversation between Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s co-founder and president, and Kevin Scott, Microsoft’s technology chief and the person credited with building the unusually close relationship between the two companies.

“You heard it from Greg,” Scott told the crowd assembled at the Seattle Convention Center near the end of the talk. “You all are the ones who are going to make AI great.”

Toward that end, Microsoft announced a slew of products for developers that draw on OpenAI’s technology:

  • There are new Azure cloud tools for customized text summarization.
  • A forthcoming chatbot promises to help developers work with data and prepare it for analysis.
  • Developers will be able to build plug-ins that work inside of ChatGPT and the chatbots inside Microsoft’s own products, including one that will debut in Windows next month.
  • Developers who receive coding suggestions through the GitHub Copilot feature will gain access to a chatbot inside of the Windows Terminal command-line program.

Generative AI will change software forever, says Nadella

OpenAI released ChatGPT to the broad world in November, sparking lots of interest from consumers. Shortly thereafter, companies such as Atlassian, Morgan Stanley and Salesforce rushed to show off integrations of OpenAI’s GPT-4 large language model, which powers the chatbot. GPT-4 and alternatives from the likes of Amazon and Google have been trained on extensive internet data sets and have become capable of spitting out chunks of natural-sounding text.

The technology is a popular form of what has come to be called generative AI, which can take human input and respond with a computer-generated output.

“Every layer of the software stack is going to be changed forever and no better place to start than the actual developer stack,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during his Build keynote address on Tuesday. “We as developers, how do we build is fundamentally changing.”

It’s crucial for third-party developers…

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