Microsoft announced a $1 billion investment in OpenAI, a specialist nonprofit organisation, as the tech giant looks to develop solutions based on the technology on its cloud Azure platform.

OpenAI, which was founded in 2015 with funding from a range of high profile investors including (Microsoft-owned) LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, employs AI researchers to make advances in the technology while also looking at the safety and social implications of the tech.

With Microsoft, OpenAI said it would gain support in building AI solutions with widely distributed economic benefits, as well as a hardware and software platform within Microsoft Azure.

Specifically the two companies will pursue “artificial general intelligence (AGI)”, which is described as a computing system able to master a subject better, or as well as, humans.

Sam Altman (pictured left), CEO of OpenAI, said “the creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity.”

“Our mission is to ensure that AGI technology benefits all of humanity, and we’re working with Microsoft to build the supercomputing foundation on which we’ll build AGI,” he said.

Microsoft will also become its exclusive cloud provider, with the companies planning to work together to extend Azure’s capabilities in large scale AI systems. Microsoft will also be OpenAI’s preferred partner for commercialising new AI technologies.

“AI is one of the most transformative technologies of our time and has the potential to solve many of our world’s most pressing challenges, added Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured right).