Microsoft is reportedly developing its own artificial intelligence (AI) chips for both OpenAI and its internal projects, aiming to reduce reliance on Nvidia GPUs and tackle the rising costs of AI development, according to The Information. The project, rumored to be in the works since 2019, could position Microsoft as a stronger player in the AI race alongside other tech giants.
Nvidia H100 GPUs, popular for training machine learning systems, currently have high costs reaching up to $40,000 on reseller services like eBay due to market scarcity. As a result, Big Tech companies like Meta, Google, and Amazon have all ventured into developing their own machine-learning chips over the past few years.
Details about Microsoft’s AI chips remain scarce, with the company not officially commenting on the matter. However, The Information’s report suggests that the project, code-named “Athena,” is already being tested by Microsoft’s internal machine-learning staff and OpenAI developers. The name “Athena” could be a reference to the Greek goddess of war, highlighting the increasingly competitive AI landscape.
OpenAI’s intentions for Microsoft’s AI chips are still unclear, but its co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, recently stated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that the infrastructure and design that took the company from GPT-1 to GPT-4 is “played out” and will need rethinking. He said, “I think we’re at the end of the era where it’s going to be these, like, giant, giant models. We’ll make them better in other ways.” This could hint at a potential shift in AI development strategies for OpenAI, with Microsoft’s new chips possibly playing a role.
Microsoft’s move comes amidst significant developments in the AI sector. Amazon recently entered the scene with its first self-developed models as part of its Bedrock AI infrastructure rollout. Furthermore, Elon Musk announced the upcoming launch of TruthGPT, a “truth-seeking” large language model intended to counter ChatGPT’s alleged left-wing bias, during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
As Microsoft secretly forges ahead with its AI chip development, the tech giant seems poised to make waves in the rapidly evolving AI industry. Will these new chips drive innovation, lower costs, and change the landscape of AI development? Only time will tell.