Artificial Intelligence could soon become more sophisticated than ever before, thanks to a new partnership between Microsoft and Open AI.

It’s widely accepted that Microsoft has big ambitions for its Azure system, and surely enough the Washington-based firm has now partnered with the experts at OpenAI to help usher in the “next generation” of machine learning technology. This collaboration certainly seems a sensible one, with both companies making clear from the outset their aims to develop secure, trustworthy and ethical systems.

In a statement on the deal, Microsoft and OpenAI announced they would build Azure AI supercomputing technologies jointly. Such a move, they claim, would bring us one step closer to AGI (artificial general intelligence), in which a machine is able to learn anything a human can.

An announcement on Microsoft’s own site struck a confident tone – the company saying how this partnership would “accelerate breakthroughs in AI” and “help developers build the next generation of AI applications.”

It went on to claim that the supercomputing power behind this joint venture would be “unprecedented”.

Microsoft has said it chose to team up with OpenAI because – despite achieving breakthroughs in vision, speech, language processing and others – there were incredibly difficult AI issues still to be solved. Partnering, it claimed, would require deep mastery of multiple technologies – the likes of which could only come about through a more collaborative approach. If its grand aim is achieved, Microsoft claims the benefits will be equally multi-disciplinary, with impacts on everything from climate change to healthcare and education.

True to its original values, OpenAI greeted the announcement with renewed calls to develop a safe and ethical system. CEO Sam Altman said: “Our mission is to ensure that AGI technology benefits all of humanity… We believe it’s crucial that AGI is deployed safely and securely and that its economic benefits are widely distributed.” These views, he added, were shared by Microsoft.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, said the company was committed to democratising AI – “so everyone can benefit.”