Private ChatGPT? Microsoft to offer AI alternative for businesses with sensitive information

It could cost 10 times more though.
Ameya Paleja
Microsoft office in Paris
Microsoft office in Paris.

Jean-Luc Ichard/ iStock 

Microsoft is planning to introduce a version of ChatGPT hosted on its dedicated Azure cloud computing servers to users who are concerned about data leaks and regulatory compliance, The Information reported. Such a service could help users keep their sensitive information from being used to train ChatGPT's language model as well.

OpenAI's conversation chatbot ChatGPT is a hot favorite among companies to showcase how they are adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to automate processes and improve customer experiences. However, industries such as healthcare and finance have remained wary of the service since it uses common infrastructure and the risks of data leaks are high.

OpenAI itself had a brief mishap in March this year when a bug exposed brief chat descriptions of some users to others. Competitors in business would be distraught if trade secrets or customer information were leaked in such a scenario.

ChatGPT on dedicated servers

As part of its multi-year, multi-billion investment in OpenAI, Microsoft has begun to incorporate the AI model in its own products. The software giant has also gained the rights to sell OpenAI's products to customers and is now looking to bundle its Azure cloud computing services by offering a niche product to some users.

Since OpenAI is still developing its AI models, it uses customer information for training its language models. Interesting Engineering reported last month how Samsung faced multiple incidents where confidential information was entered into ChatGPT by employees unknowingly looking for help from AI.

Private ChatGPT? Microsoft to offer AI alternative for businesses with sensitive information
Private data servers could help contain the leak of confidential information

Microsoft's offering is expected to be aimed at large organizations that are still on the fence about using ChatGPT over such fears of accidental leakage of confidential information. However, this special case consideration is expected to come at an extra cost, which could end up being as much as 10 times the cost of using ChatGPT in a shared space, according to The Information's report.

Microsoft's announcement of such a service is expected to come later this quarter but will also compete with OpenAI's own offering, which makes similar promises that will not use the data for training the AI model.

It will be interesting to see OpenAI and Microsoft, who have been partners in promoting ChatGPT now compete for the same set of customers with similar products and even similar backend infrastructure. This will also coincide with the launch of bilingual models such as Alibaba's Tongyi Qianwen, which will seek customers from the Western markets.

The other option for companies would be to choose the cloud computing infrastructure of their own choice and develop AI models based on their own data and needs, much like Bloomberg did.

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