Microsoft on Tuesday announced a preview of OpenAI’s GPT-4 artificial intelligence (AI) model for users of the Azure OpenAI service.
The Azure OpenAI service was commercially released back in January, offering access to DALL-E 2 for composing images from text, Codex for developer code suggestions and GPT-3.5 for natural language chat responses. Now, Microsoft is previewing the GPT-4 model for use with its service.
Microsoft is already using GPT-4 in its Bing search (which is accessible by those people who signed up to use the ChatGPT preview). GPT-4 is also being used in Microsoft’s newly introduced Microsoft 365 Copilot applications, promising to bring AI into Office apps. Both products are at the early preview stage, and not yet commercially released. The new preview of GPT-4 in the Azure OpenAI service will let other organizations use this large language model with their applications to build things like bots and virtual assistants that can deliver natural language responses to queries.
Other possible uses for the GPT-4 model include "improving customer experiences end-to-end, summarizing long-form content, helping write software, and even reducing risk by predicting the right tax data," the announcement suggested.
Some organizations have already been using the Azure OpenAI GPT-4 model, and their testimonials were part of Microsoft’s announcement. Epic Healthcare is using this model to help physicians and nurses investigate medical data. Coursera is using it to personalize learning experiences. Coca-Cola Co. is using GPT-4 to solve business problems, and plans to tap its "possibilities for marketing, advertising, public relations and customer relations."
GPT-4 Preview Waitlist and Requirements
Existing Azure OpenAI service users will need to apply to use the preview of GPT-4.
Possibly the use of the preview is free, but billing for GPT-4 will start on April 1, 2023. GPT-4 costs will be priced per 1,000 tokens, as used in prompts and in the completions of queries.
Azure OpenAI GPT-4 users have to comply with Microsoft’s "Code of Conduct" to use the service, and they will have to say what their use case will be at the initial preview sign-up stage. The GPT-4 model, though, is considered by Microsoft to be less likely than its preceding models to surface embarrassing results for the organizations using it.
"Guided by human feedback, safety is built directly into the GPT-4 model, which enables the model to be more effective at handling harmful inputs, thereby reducing the likelihood that the model will generate a harmful response," the announcement stated.
Microsoft explained in another announcement that the OpenAI ChatGPT models that get used with the Azure OpenAI service will change at a somewhat rapid pace. These models will be versioned. Developers will have to keep track of the deprecated models and update their applications to use newer versions.
For instance, ChatGPT models released in March will be deprecated in August. Here’s how the announcement characterized the ChatGPT versioning and deprecations:
The "0301" version of the ChatGPT model and the "0314" versions of the GPT-4 models will be deprecated on August 1st, 2023 in favor of newer versions. You can find the deprecation times for models on our Models page and via our Models API.
Microsoft recommends using a "new Chat playground in the Azure OpenAI Studio" to get started with these AI models for use with the Azure OpenAI service. Microsoft also announced a "Chat Completions API (preview)," which lets apps pass prompts as "an array of messages instead of as a single string."
Microsoft encouraged its partners to build solutions based on GPT-4 in the Azure OpenAI service in this announcement. It included a link to sign up on the wait list, as well as links to learn more.
Per that announcement, the GPT-4 model has been improved over its predecessors to understand text in multiple languages, handle "more than 25,000 words of text" and interact longer, along with giving more "natural and contextually appropriate responses with higher accuracy."
"Partners are encouraged to start using machine learning capabilities in Azure OpenAI to build predictive models, automate processes, and improve decision-making," the announcement indicated.
Microsoft plans to hold an online Azure AI Bootcamp event from March 28 to March 30, which will offer "intermediate to advanced" training to developers and data scientists.
About the Author
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media’s Converge360 group.
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