MWC 2024: Microsoft to open up access to its AI models to allow countries to build own AI economies

Monday was a big day for announcements from tech giant Microsoft, unveiling new guiding principles for AI governance and a multi-year deal with Mistral AI.


Tech behemoth Microsoft has unveiled a new set of guiding principles on how it will govern its artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure, effectively further opening up access to its technology to developers.

The announcement came at the Mobile World Congress tech fair in Barcelona on Monday where AI is a key theme of this year’s event.

One of the key planks of its newly-published “AI Access Principles” is the democratisation of AI through the company’s open source models.

The company said it plans to do this by expanding access to its cloud computing AI infrastructure.

Speaking to Euronews Next, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s vice chair and president, also said the company wanted to make its AI models and development tools more widely available to developers around the world, allowing countries to build their own AI economies.

Mistral AI tie-up and European investment

The announcement of its AI governance guidelines comes as the Big Tech company struck a deal with Mistral AI, the French company revealed on Monday, signalling Microsoft’s intent to branch out in the burgeoning AI market beyond its current involvement with OpenAI.

Microsoft has already heavily invested in OpenAI, the creator of wildly popular AI chatbot ChatGPT. Its $13 billion (€11.9 billion) investment, however, is currently under review by regulators in the EU, the UK and the US.

Widely cited as a growing rival for OpenAI, 10-month-old Mistral reached unicorn status in December after being valued at more than €2 billion, far surpassing the €1 billion threshold to be considered one.

The new multi-year partnership will see Microsoft giving Mistral access to its Azure cloud platform to help bring its large language model (LLM) called Mistral Large.

LLMs are AI programmes that recogise and generate text and are commonly used to power generative AI like chatbots.

“Their [Mistral’s] commitment to fostering the open-source community and achieving exceptional performance aligns harmoniously with Microsoft’s commitment to develop trustworthy, scalable, and responsible AI solutions,” Eric Boyd, Corporate Vice President, Azure AI Platform at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

The move is in keeping with Microsoft’s commitment to open up its cloud-based AI infrastructure.

In the past week, as well as its partnership with Mistral AI, Microsoft has committed to investing billions of euros over two years in its AI infrastructure in Europe, including €1.9 billion in Spain and €3.2 billion in Germany.

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2024-02-26 16:56:37

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