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  • Mal McCallion

Microsoft's CEO Equates AI Impact to Internet's Tidal Wave

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

When the internet made its grand entrance in 1995, Microsoft Corp's co-founder, Bill Gates, likened it to a "tidal wave" engulfing businesses with crucial information.

Now, Microsoft's current leader, Satya Nadella, predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) will have an equally profound effect.

"The Bill [Gates] memo in 1995, it does feel like that to me," Nadella shared on a recent episode of The Circuit With Emily Chang. "I think it's as big."

Microsoft, having already invested $13 billion in its generative AI technology, is now teaming up with OpenAI Inc. to intelligently incorporate AI into its technology and maintain its relevance.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman lauded the partnership, stating, "These big, major partnerships between tech companies usually don’t work. This is an example of it working really well. We’re super grateful for it."

However, this association has not been without its critics, with Elon Musk, OpenAI's co-founder, suggesting that OpenAI is now "effectively controlled by Microsoft."

Altman firmly rebuffed this claim, asserting, "[The] company is not for sale. I don’t know how to be more clear than that." Microsoft's support of OpenAI likely stems from the risk of Google dominating the AI space, having designed the blueprint for OpenAI's ChatGPT and Microsoft's Bing chatbot, known as transformers.

Altman acknowledged the fierce competition in the tech industry, stating, "This is probably the most competitive environment in tech right now." Microsoft has also indicated its willingness to engage in discussions with government officials to ensure fair competition in AI.

Nadella ended the interview with a cautionary note, reminding us that this is just the beginning of AI. He said, "We in the tech industry are classic experts at overhyping everything," adding that his motivation is to use this technology to democratise access to it.

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