OpenAI and other companies, such as Microsoft and Google, need huge amounts of resources to develop and operate their generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. OpenAI reportedly bled $540 million last year developing ChatGPT and estimates it needs $100 billion to meet its ambitions. State-of-the-art chips and prize-winning researchers are required to build AI at scale, which comes at an eye-watering cost. Generative AI’s advent has increased cloud computing dependency and created an expensive problem for many companies. Outsourcing computing needs to cloud giants such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon’s AWS is the most viable option for most companies. However, the unpredictable costs of cloud computing could be a big surprise for companies that allow engineers to rack up bills in their rush to build tech. Microsoft’s signature cloud offer is Azure, which some observers believe is about protecting Azure’s success and guaranteeing its future by monetising AI. AI training will become an important cloud service, but dependence on cloud giants will hopefully reduce through optimising cloud technology and reducing expenses. The number of companies that can develop true frontier models of AI will be small, meaning scrutiny of OpenAI and its competitors is required.
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