Microsoft’s new Azure OpenAI Service brings GPT-3 to (a few) more developers

Microsoft today announced the launch of the Azure OpenAI Service, which, as the name implies, makes OpenAI’s machine learning models available on the Azure platform. Specifically, that means GPT-3, OpenAI’s groundbreaking language model that can, under the right circumstances, produce human-like text with just a few prompts.

There is a catch, though. At least for now, not all Azure users will get access to it (even if they are willing to pay). Access will be invitation-only and for “customers who are planning to implement well-defined use cases that incorporate responsible principles and strategies for using the AI technology.” Microsoft will offer safety monitoring and analysis to find cases of abuse or misuse of GPT-3 and it will offer filters to make sure your GPT-3-based chatbot doesn’t start swearing at your executives (even if GPT-3 thinks they deserve it).

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Image Credits: Microsoft

It’s worth noting that OpenAI itself already made a GPT-3 API available last year, though there is still a waitlist. Microsoft, too, is already using GPT-3 to power GitHub’s Copilot tool that helps developers write code for them. But while there are already ways to access GPT-3 outside of Azure, Microsoft argues that it can offer “additional layers of security, access management, private networking, data handling protections or scaling capacity.”

Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI back in 2019 and licenses GPT-3, so it’s no surprise that the company is trying to bring it to a wider range of products now.

“GPT-3 has really proven itself as the first powerful, general-purpose model for natural language — it’s one model you can use for all these things, which developers love because you can try things very easily,” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said. “For a while now, we’ve wanted to figure out a way to scale it as broadly as possible, which is part of the thing that really excites us about the partnership with Microsoft.”