Microsoft has announced it will be partnering with the Elon Musk-backed OpenAI initiative in a bid to make "significant contributions to advance the field of AI".
As part of its stated mission to 'democratise AI', Microsoft will work closely with OpenAI in a joint effort to help ensure artificial intelligence is used to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems.
The company outlined the new partnership in a blog post, where it also explained that OpenAI will use its Azure cloud platform, to help advance research and "create new tools and technologies that are only possible with the cloud".
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OpenAI is a nonprofit artificial intelligence research organization co-founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever.
The organisation will be using Microsoft's Azure N-Series Virtual Machines, which are designed to carry out intensive tasks such as deep learning, simulations, rendering and the training of neural networks.
Elon Musk helped found OpenAI
In the coming months OpenAI says it will use thousands to tens of thousands of these machines to increase both the number of experiments it runs and the size of the models it trains.
OpenAI's Sam Altman, told Microsoft's Harry Schum in an interview: "Microsoft is the large tech company most aligned with us in terms of the goal of democratisation to AI technology – and this is our most important goal.
“We are going to create an incredibly powerful technology and that should belong to everyone in the world.
"We don’t want to see that concentrated in a single government, certainly not in a single company.”
Microsoft states in its blog post: "We’ve made major strides in artificial intelligence just in the past five years, achieving milestones many people who have devoted their lives to the field wouldn’t have thought possible.
"Now, we have the opportunity to help our partners and customers use these breakthroughs to achieve their goals."
The company is already part of the recently announced Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, along with Google, Facebook, Amazon, and IBM.
Companies involved in the partnership will work in collaboration, alongside external experts, to help shape the ethical rules that will govern AI development.
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Let us know what you make of the new partnership in the comments.