Microsoft announced a $1 billion investment in OpenAI, a lab co-founded by Elon Musk to develop "artificial general intelligence."
The investment is the start of a long-term partnership between the two organizations. OpenAI will ensure its services work on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, and the companies will collaborate on new supercomputers.
OpenAI's stated mission is to develop "artificial general intelligence," or AGI. In layman's terms, AGI is AI that can think like a human (possibly even better) while carrying out complex tasks autonomously. Whether or not an AGI would immediately decide to incinerate humanity a la Skynet remains to be seen, but OpenAI at least claims its artificial intelligence would be safe and beneficial for the human race.
So far, one of OpenAI's most famous accomplishments is beating humans at competitive video games.
Microsoft, on the other hand, wants to get as many things running on Azure as possible. It just recently launched Azure in Africa, making it the biggest cloud provider in the continent. Eventually, at some point, you'll be able to use Azure technology to play Xbox games on other devices via game streaming, too.
Ultimately, Microsoft sees Azure as a competitor to Amazon Web Services. There's even a page on the Microsoft website urging companies to use Azure over AWS, which represents a massive portion of Amazon's total revenue.
Maybe the OpenAI investment will help Microsoft compete with AWS — while enabling our future AI overlords.