Microsoft Announces Azure OpenAI Service

Microsoft has introduced their Azure OpenAI Service, which provides users with access to OpenAI’s powerful models in addition to Microsoft Azure’s capabilities including enterprise-grade security, reliability, compliance, privacy, and other capabilities.

Last year, OpenAI, a startup that specializes in AI research and development, released its ground-breaking ‘GPT-3’ natural language model platform. Microsoft has a GPT-3 technology license that allows it to incorporate it into its own products. GPT-3 has been accessible via an API hosted by OpenAI. The Azure OpenAI Service packs that API with additional layers of security, access control, data protection and scalability options.

The Azure OpenAI Service is the newest product to emerge from Microsoft and OpenAI’s collaboration, which seeks to accelerate AI breakthroughs by working together to build the first supercomputer on Azure and commercializing innovative AI technologies.

Microsoft will also provide additional tools to Azure OpenAI Service users to guarantee that model returns are acceptable for their businesses. It will also track how people use the technology to ensure that it is being utilized for its intended purposes.

“We are just in the beginning stages of figuring out what the power and potential of GPT-3 is, which is what makes it so interesting,” said Eric Boyd, Microsoft corporate vice president for Azure AI. “Now we are taking what OpenAI has released and making it available with all the enterprise promises that businesses need to move into production.”

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Photo Eric Boyd, Microsoft corporate vice president for Azure AI
“We are just in the beginning stages of figuring out what the power and potential of GPT-3 is, which is what makes it so interesting,” said Eric Boyd, Microsoft corporate vice president for Azure AI.

GPT-3 is a new class of models developed by OpenAI that can be tuned to handle a broad range of use cases requiring a deep comprehension of language, such as translating natural language to software code, summarizing enormous quantities of text, and providing responses to queries. Organizations may use the OpenAI API, and now the Azure OpenAI Service, to approach that model as a platform without requiring specialized hardware or expertise.

Users may also quickly educate the models to fulfill unique business objectives using their own data, as the models have already learnt subtleties of language via absorbing patterns in billions of pages of publicly available text. Users simply need to show the models a few instances of the kind of outputs, answers, or code they want it to create in a process known as ‘few shot learning.’

According to Dominic Divakaruni, Microsoft Group Product Manager leading Azure OpenAI, the potential enterprise uses for GPT-3 range from summarizing common complaints in customer service logs to helping developers code faster without having to stop and search for examples, or helping marketing departments generate new content as starting points for blog posts.

Another potential enterprise use for GPT-3 is represented by Copilot, a service developed by Microsoft subsidiary GitHub and OpenAI. It employs a new GPT-3-based paradigm called Codex to assist software engineers write code more effectively and avoid repetitive chores using automatic code completion and suggestions.

Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service will be offered via invitation only at first, as in this phase Microsoft wants to collaborate with firms who are prepared to take ownership of the use of this AI technology. Microsoft’s collaborations with these early clients will allow the vendor to observe how its responsible AI measures are performing in practice and make any necessary improvements.

“We expect to learn with our customers, and we expect the responsible AI areas to be places where we learn what things need more polish,” added Mr. Boyd. “This is a really critical area for AI generally and with GPT-3 pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with AI, we need to make sure we’re right there on the forefront to make sure we are using it responsibly.”