Microsoft makes plans for quantum supremacy in new age of AI

Microsoft intends to dominate global industry with quantum computing as the world enters a golden age of AI underpinned by breakthroughs such as ChatGPT

ChatGPT has captured the world’s imagination, but OpenAI’s revolutionary new product is just one of a dozen AI-driven so-called “killer apps” that will transform human productivity and the future of work, World Economic Forum industry experts have predicted.

And Satya Nadella, Microsoft Chairman and CEO, told world leaders at Davos last week that his company intends to lead the quantum computing revolution that will help power new AI innovations.

ChatGPT answers complex questions via short prompts on various topics and even writes lyrics and poetry. Underpinned by generative models such as GPT-3 and GPT-3.5, it is the most conspicuous example of technology dubbed generative AI.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft Chairman and CEO, in a session at the Annual Meeting, told World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab that a golden age of AI is underway and will redefine work as we know it.

“The future of work is not just about technology and tools,” says Schwab. “It’s about new management practices and sensibilities to the workplace. Technology will provide more and more ways to bring people together.”

Public-private cooperation itself is moving virtual, with the Forum’s Global Collaboration Village harnessing the power of the metaverse as a platform for collaborative, inclusive and effective international action.

AI at the start of the S-curve

“Microsoft is opening up access to new AI tools like ChatGPT,” says Nadella. “I see these technologies acting as a co-pilot, helping people do more with less.”

He provided two anecdotes of recent use cases of GPT technology. The first an expert coder from Silicon Valley who improved their productivity by 80% by using the model to help write better code faster. The second an Indian farmer who could use a GPT interface to access an opaque government programme via the internet, despite only speaking a local dialect.

“AI is just at the beginning of the S-curve,” says Nadella, and the near-term and long-term opportunities are enormous.

He said Microsoft intends to lead on quantum computing. Microsoft has all the building blocks for a next-generation quantum computer. He said: “Microsoft will achieve quantum supremacy and aims to build a general-purpose quantum computer.”

On safety and security, Nadella said the operating principle for protecting critical infrastructure should be to assume the worst – “have zero trust”. “Safety and security needs to be included right at the design stage,” he says.

Sustainability is at the core of the business. “By 2050 Microsoft aims to not just be carbon-neutral but carbon-negative.” Last year the tech giant released Cloud for Sustainability, bringing together a growing set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) capabilities across the Microsoft cloud portfolio plus solutions from the firm’s global ecosystem.

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