a $1bn investment from Microsoft. It says it will use the money largely for computational power, which is increasingly the core enabler for machine learning (see previous coverage
). Interestingly, OpenAI says it’s raising capital specifically to avoid having to develop a commercial product, which will allow it to focus on competing with Google to develop artificial general intelligence
This is the second large investment for OpenAI since it announced its change in structure back in March
. There’s been quite a lot of skepticism from leading figures in Silicon Valley and/or machine learning - from those who see the move as pure PR
to those who are highly critical of its non-profit to for-profit transition and its increasingly non-open
approach. Do read this thread
from AI researcher Stephen Merity, which makes that argument.
I’m sympathetic to both sides here. On the one hand, even if compute were free, AI is a high-end talent game, and - as we discuss in the next section - it’s very hard to employ top talent today without equity compensation. OpenAI has done a decent job of threading the for-profit/not-for-profit needle
. On the other, whenever OpenAI makes a big announcement, I go back and reread this excellent and anxious post
by Scott Alexander from OpenAI’s launch in late 2015. It strikes me that, if you’re worried about AI safety
, Alexander’s concerns, especially in the final section, have held up a lot better than Musk and Altman’s reassurances.