Microsoft announces plans to invest $1.5 billion in AI firm G42 for responsible AI development | Tech News

Microsoft announces plans to invest $1.5 billion in AI firm G42 for responsible AI development

As part of the deal, which the two companies said was backed by assurances to the U.S. and UAE governments over security, G42 would use Microsoft cloud services to run its AI applications.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Apr 16 2024, 14:24 IST
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Microsoft announces plans to invest $1.5 billion in AI firm G42 for responsible AI development
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Microsoft announces plans to invest $1.5 billion in AI firm G42 for responsible AI development
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Microsoft and G42 described their assurances to the U.S. and UAE governments as a first of its kind agreement to ensure the secure, trusted and responsible development and deployment of AI. (AP)

Expanding its artificial intelligence (AI) push, Microsoft has announced that it will be investing $1.5 billion in United Arab Emirates-based artificial intelligence firm G42, giving the U.S. giant a minority stake and a board seat, allowing the two to deepen ties amid the global battle for tech dominance. AI has become the buzzword of the last few years, with companies around the world competing to leverage this technology.

As part of the deal, which the two companies said was backed by assurances to the U.S. and UAE governments over security, G42 would use Microsoft cloud services to run its AI applications, according to Reuters.

AI partnership

The partnership comes amid Washington's efforts to hobble Beijing's technological advances, with the United States adding four Chinese companies to an export blacklist for seeking to acquire AI chips for China's military. The United States has also been concerned over deepening ties between China and the Gulf states, including the UAE.

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Amid U.S. concerns over its relationship with Chinese businesses, G42 had divested its investments in China and began the lengthy task of pulling out Chinese hardware, accepting constraints imposed on it by the United States to work with U.S. companies, it said in February.

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Microsoft and G42, in separate statements on Tuesday, described their assurances to the U.S. and UAE governments as a first of its kind agreement to ensure the secure, trusted and responsible development and deployment of AI. Microsoft said it was binding. The size of the stake Microsoft was taking was not disclosed.

Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala and American private equity firm Silver Lake hold stakes in G42, whose chairman, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the UAE National Security Advisor and a brother to the president.

Microsoft President Brad Smith, who will take a seat on G42's board, said: "We will combine world-class technology with world-leading standards for safe, trusted, and responsible AI, in close coordination with the governments of both the UAE and the United States."

Details of the deal

The New York Times said the deal places a series of protections on the AI products shared with G42, including an agreement to strip Chinese gear out of the Emirati firm's operations. G42 will cease using Huawei telecom equipment, which the U.S. fears could provide a backdoor for Chinese intelligence agencies, the paper said.

G42 and Microsoft said they would jointly bring advanced AI and digital infrastructure to countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

The two companies have collaborated multiple times over the last year, and G42 said it would use Microsoft's Azure data centres as part of its AI infrastructure to boost regional adoption.

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First Published Date: 16 Apr, 14:24 IST
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