There’s trouble in AI paradise as Microsoft and OpenAI butt heads

OpenAI warned Microsoft early this year about rushing into integrating GPT-4 (a more advanced but less ‘stable’ language model) into Bing without further training. Microsoft pushed ahead anyway. 

This led to a rush of unhinged and strange behaviour from the Bing AI tool. Now, a new report by the Wall Street Journal details how there is “conflict and confusion” between the companies and their fragile alliance.

Keeping in mind Microsoft doesn’t own OpenAI outright (something it often does to up-and-coming companies), but instead invested a 49% stake in the startup, the arrangement gave Microsoft early access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Dall-E to boost Bing’s search engine.

It’s a setup that benefits both parties, as OpenAI gains a stable financial investment and servers for hosting, where Microsoft gets early access to the previously mentioned tools, forcing Google and others to scramble to catch up. The WSJ article describes this as an “open relationship” where Microsoft maintains significant influence without outright control. 

(Image credit: studiostoks / Shutterstock)

Butting of heads

Microsoft’s rush to incorporate GPT-4 into Bing search without the necessary further training has built resentment on both sides. 

According to the article, some Microsoft employees feel slighted by the fact that Microsoft’s in-house AI projects are being overlooked in favour of OpenAI, which despite their partnership is free to work with Microsoft’s rivals. 

Apparently, there’s also a feeling that OpenAI is not allowing some people at Microsoft full access to its tech. Some also feel that OpenAI’s warning about not rushing into using its tech is hypocritical, as many feel OpenAI rushed out ChatGPT.

This has led to a situation where the pair are working together, and yet against each other at the same time. Time will tell whether that leads to healthy competition or a very messy breakup. 

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