On Wednesday, Microsoft announced it will now offer U.S. government departments access to its artificial intelligence models, such as OpenAI’s GPT-4.
As stated in a blog post by Microsoft, its Azure OpenAI Service will now help Azure Government customers accelerate content generation, create summaries of reports and logs, optimize search, and simplify code.
“Many agencies require a higher level of security given the sensitivity of government data. Microsoft Azure Government provides the stringent security and compliance standards they need to meet government requirements for sensitive data,” the blog post reads.
Though the blog post doesn’t name specific customers within the government, Bloomberg notes that the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and NASA are among some of Azure Government’s customers. According to Bloomberg, an official from the Defense Technical Information Center—which is a DoD repository for research and engineering information—confirmed that it will be using the new tools.
The service allows the government access to GPT-4, GPT-3, and Embeddings, which are text strings that can be used to amplify search and recommendation features. The company also highlighted that Azure Government has its own encrypted network that doesn’t connect to the public internet or Microsoft’s corporate network to protect all confidential information.
The announcement follows OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s testimony in front of Congress, in which he pushed for the U.S. to create a regulatory agency to monitor AI companies and supported the idea of requiring companies to get licenses in order to release AI models. To a number of AI researchers, Altman’s stance is an anti-competitive move that would create greater barriers to entry for smaller companies with fewer resources. Experts also suggested that Altman hoped to gain an advantage by cozying up to the government. Currently, Microsoft is OpenAI’s main corporate partner.
According to another blog post by Microsoft, its Azure OpenAI Service, which allows people to use AI models on their own data, has over 4,500 customers including the companies Volvo, Ikea, Crayon, and Shell.
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