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UK secures billion-dollar AI investment from Microsoft

UK secures billion-dollar AI investment from Microsoft

The British government hopes a billion-dollar investment by US software giant Microsoft will spur growth in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). “Today's announcement is a turning point for the future of AI infrastructure and its development in the UK,” said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Microsoft wants to pump 2.5 billion pounds (almost 3 billion euros) into the country over the next three years – making it its biggest single investment in the kingdom. That's more than double Microsoft's number of data centers in the UK, Sunak says. Under the deal, Microsoft will bring more than 20,000 state-of-the-art graphics processors to the UK and provide AI training to employees there.

According to Microsoft's assessment, autonomous artificial “supervision” is still far from reality. “It's absolutely impossible that we'll see so-called AGI in the next 12 months, where computers are more powerful than humans,” the software company's president, Brad Smith, said Thursday. “It will take years, but decades.” However, one should already think about the safety of this technology.

Next step: AGI

AGI stands for “Artificial General Intelligence”. Unlike previous AI like ChatGPT from Microsoft's OpenAI, these programs can perform complex tasks without human intervention. Critics fear that AGI could start wars or create and spread viruses dangerous to humans.

The debate over “technological singularity” as artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence was given new fuel by the confusion surrounding the short-lived ouster of OpenAI boss Sam Altman. Fights over handling a breakthrough in AI research may have played a role in the affair. According to insiders, the developers of the “Q*” (pronounced: Q-star) project have warned the OpenAI board of directors about the harmful effects of prematurely releasing the project. In Microsoft chairman Smith's view, the issue of superintelligence played no role in Altman's ouster. There were differences of opinion with the board of directors, but not on such fundamental issues.

Legislators are lagging behind

Lawmakers around the world are struggling to find appropriate AI regulation. At the AI ​​Summit in early November, many countries committed to working together on the issue. “We really need safety nets,” Smith continued. “Just like elevators or circuit breakers have emergency brakes, AI systems that control critical infrastructure should have such fuses so that they are always under human control.”

The federal government recently said that increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) could bring 7 billion euros in added value to Austria by 2035. But there are challenges. Therefore, AI labeling requirement should be introduced. In addition, 100 schools in Austria are set to become pilot schools in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) over the next two school years, receiving a special project budget. In principle, the use of AI programs such as ChatGPT is still prohibited if they are used to simulate performance.