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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting really smart. It’s already able to recognize what’s in the photos you share online, powers technology you use every day like Siri and Alexa, and does even more complex tasks like keeping your car in its lane or even driving on its own. But those tasks all require that a computer be essentially trained by a human, based on human knowledge and expertise.

That’s not enough for the researchers at OpenAI.

In fact, it just announced a partnership that will have Microsoft investing a cool $1 billion into the for-profit research lab — originally founded by Elon Musk and others, and now run by Sam Altman — as an attempt to pursue the “holy grail” of AI, known as artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Considered one of the ultimate computing challenges, AGI, in theory, is capable of exceeding human capacity for understanding topics and can master more individual areas than any human can.

Musk left OpenAI earlier this year over disagreements about the future of the organization and the technology, as well as competition for the same research talent at his other companies, Tesla and SpaceX, according to a report by Bloomberg.

A high-powered deal.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform will host and power the new technology in an exclusive partnership. In fact, most of the $1 billion investment will be used on the raw computing power necessary to accomplish the machine learning behind AGI. Microsoft will also develop software and machine learning tools based on OpenAI’s technology.

In fact, in a statement, OpenAI said: “We believe that the creation of beneficial AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity.”

Those sound like pretty lofty goals, but the reality is that researchers are racing to master a computing power that could bring about substantial advancements not only in everyday technology but could independently chart out new discoveries like new treatments for currently incurable medical conditions.

For example, the OpenAI researchers have made advancements in teaching a robot hand to manipulate objects similar to the way a human would. The implications are that eventually, robots could learn to conduct complicated medical procedures, even if a human surgeon isn’t available.

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