Earlier today at the Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced that its users will now be able to experience the new Azure OpenAI Service, a service that allows access to OpenAI’s API through the Azure platform. This service, for now, will only be available by invitation only. With the new Azure Cognitive Service users will be able to access the OpenAI’s powerful GPT-3 models. This access will also come along with capabilities like security, reliability, compliance, data privacy, and other enterprise-grade capabilities that are built into Microsoft Azure.
Since the introduction of the groundbreaking GPT-3 natural language model platform of the OpenAI, by an AI research and deployment company, an ampule amount of users have discovered the boundless ability of these AI models with their powerful and comprehensively deep understanding of language. This powerful AI system was once deemed too dangerous for release to the general public by its creators. Microsoft announces its plans of an upgraded version of the program, OpenAI’s autocomplete software GPT-3, which will be available to business customers as part of its suite of Azure cloud tools.
The GPT-3 model is said to be the best-known example of a new generation of AI language models. These systems are guaranteed to work primarily as autocomplete tools: in a case where a user feeds them with the snippet of text, whether an email or a poem and the AI has the ability to continue what’s been written. Their ability to analyze language, allows them to conveniently take on other tasks like summarizing documents, analyzing the sentiment of text, and generating ideas for projects and stories — all these tasks and more are what Microsoft is promising its new Azure OpenAI Service will help users carry out.
In a blog post, Microsoft sets an example to explain what the new Azure OpenAI Service can help users achieve. Microsoft explains “For instance, a sports franchise that’s developing a new app to engage with fans during games could use the models’ ability to quickly and abstractly summarize information to convert transcripts of live television commentary into game highlights that someone could choose to include within the app. The marketing team could use GPT-3’s capability to generate original content and its understanding of what’s happening in the game to help the team brainstorm ideas for social media or blog posts and engage with fans more quickly.”
According to The Verge the GPT-3 is already being used for this sort of work via an API sold by OpenAI. Startups like Copy.ai promise that their GPT-derived tools will help users spruce up work emails and pitch decks, while more exotic applications include using GPT-3 to power a choose-your-own-adventure text game and chatbots pretending to be fictional TikTok influencers. While OpenAI will continue selling its own API for GPT-3 to provide customers with the latest upgrades, Microsoft’s repackaging of the system will be aimed at larger businesses that want more support and safety. That means their service will offer tools like “access management, private networking, data handling protections [and] scaling capacity.”
It’s unclear how OpenAI’s sales of its APIs may directly or indirectly jeopardize the relationship between the two companies that have already signed a tight business partnership. In 2019, Microsoft became OpenAI’s sole cloud provider through its investment of about $1 billion in OpenAI. In September 2020, Microsoft banked an exclusive license to OpenAI directly integrate its GPT-3 into its own products. Through all these efforts Microsoft has been able to use the GPT-3 system to build a number of autocomplete features into its suite of PowerApps applications and its Visual Studio Code editor.
Eric Boyd, Microsoft corporate vice president for Azure AI says “We are just in the beginning stages of figuring out what the power and potential of GPT-3 are, which is what makes it so interesting, now we are taking what OpenAI has released and making it available with all the enterprise promises that businesses need to move into production.” Built by OpenAI, GPT-3 possess a new class of models that are customizable to handle a wide variety of use cases that require a deep understanding of language, from converting natural language to software code to summarizing large amounts of text and generating answers to questions. Because these large language models are trained on vast amounts of internet data, which can include everything from vulgar language to racial stereotypes to personally identifying information, it’s important to give enterprise customers safeguards to help prevent the technology from being used for harmful purposes or generating unwanted results, said Sarah Bird, Microsoft’s responsible AI lead for Azure AI.
According to a blog post by Microsoft, that’s why Microsoft initially plans to make the Azure OpenAI Service available only by invitation to customers who are planning to implement well-defined use cases that incorporate responsible principles and strategies for using the AI technology. Collaborations with these early customers will help Microsoft see how its responsible AI safeguards are working in practice and make any needed adjustments. As part of the Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft will offer new tools to filter and moderate the content of users’ requests and responses to help the models work effectively in each application. Customers will have the ability to customize those filters according to their business needs, since the language that’s appropriate for a video game character may differ from communications aimed at business executives.
Boyd said “Microsoft will also provide safety monitoring and analysis to identify possible cases of abuse or misuse and to help customers ensure their own users are deploying the technology for its intended purposes. Microsoft will also offer customers guidance for using the technology successfully and fairly, such as keeping people in the loop to judge whether the content or code that the model is producing is high quality.”
“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,” Microsoft’s Boyd said. “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.”