Microsoft to expand access to ChatGPT as OpenAI investment rumors swirl

Jan 16 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) on Monday said it was expanding access to wildly popular software from OpenAI, the startup it backs, whose futuristic chatbot ChatGPT has taken Silicon Valley by storm.

Microsoft said the startup’s technology, which it has so far previewed to its customers in cloud computing in a program called Azure OpenAI Service, is now generally available, a distinction that is expected to bring a flood of new applications.

The news comes as Microsoft considers adding to the $1 billion stake in OpenAI it announced in 2019, two people familiar with the matter previously told Reuters. News site Semafor reported earlier this month that Microsoft can invest $10 billion; Microsoft declined to comment on a potential deal.

Public interest in OpenAI has grown since the November release of ChatGPT, a text-based chatbot that can produce prose, poetry or even computer code on command. ChatGPT is powered by generative artificial intelligence that creates new content after learning from massive amounts of data—a technology that Microsoft is allowing more customers to apply to use.

ChatGPT itself, not just its core technology, will soon be available through the Microsoft cloud, according to a blog post.

Microsoft said it screens customers’ apps to mitigate potential software abuse, and its filters can check for harmful content users may enter or technology may produce.

The business potential of such software has garnered huge venture capital investment in start-ups that produce it at a time when funding has otherwise dried up. Already, some companies have used the technology to create marketing content or demonstrate how they can negotiate a cable bill.

Microsoft said CarMax, KPMG and others are using the Azure OpenAI service. Its press release quoted Al Jazeera’s vice president as saying the service could help the news organization summarize and translate content.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dustin; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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