Since the debut of OpenAI's ChatGPT late last year, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) has moved at breathtaking speed. Consumers were entranced by the ability of these generative AI-driven chatbots to participate in human-like exchanges, respond to complex queries, and even simplify and summarize complicated information. Furthermore, many technology companies were caught off guard, resulting in a veritable stampede to adopt and use AI algorithms.

Now, two of the biggest names in technology have joined forces to simplify the process, which will not only make it easier for developers to build AI models, but could (eventually) give consumers the ability to run AI on their PCs -- without having to access the internet.

A binary AI matrix showing green 1s and zeros against a black background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Let's get right down to business

Nvidia (NVDA -4.71%) and Microsoft (MSFT -3.45%) announced a collaboration that will integrate Nvidia's AI Enterprise software models with Microsoft's Azure Cloud Machine Learning "to help enterprises accelerate their AI initiatives," according to a press release. 

For its part, Nvidia is supplying more than 100 AI frameworks, pretrained models, and suites of development tools, supported by Nvidia AI Enterprise, "the software layer of Nvidia's AI platform." The incorporation with Azure Cloud provides customers with "a secure, enterprise-ready platform that enables Azure customers worldwide to quickly build, deploy and manage customized applications," using Nvidia models as templates.

Microsoft describes this as "the first enterprise-ready, secure, end-to-end cloud platform for developers to build, deploy, and manage AI applications including custom large language models." 

This is the continuation of an agreement reached late last year. At the time, the pair announced a multiyear collaboration to build one of the world's most powerful AI supercomputers, featuring tens of thousands of Nvidia GPUs, Nvidia Quantum-2 InfiniBand server connections (which facilitate high-speed computing), and the full stack of Nvidia AI software, combined with Azure Cloud. Once completed, the platform would provide for "rapid, cost-effective AI development and deployment."  

Bringing AI to PCs

One of the downsides of the recent generative AI revolution is that the computing horsepower necessary to train and run these generational AI systems doesn't exist on most personal computers (PCs), forcing many users to access these image generators and chatbots via high-powered data centers on the internet.

One of the advancements revealed Tuesday could eventually give consumers with PCs -- and the necessary Nvidia graphics card -- access to the same groundbreaking AI models that were previously only available to developers. 

This potential is born of Windows' inherent ability to run the Linux open-source operating system. Recent changes to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) have streamlined the installation process. At the same time, Nvidia said it plans to offer "GPU acceleration and support" for AI within WSL.

These two changes will allow developers to build AI programs on a Windows PC equipped with a high-end Nvidia graphics card -- rather than relying on a dedicated Linux machine. Furthermore, these changes will not only enable developers to build powerful AI models on PCs, but eventually provide the same technological access to consumers.

Fueling the AI revolution

Businesses and consumers alike have been clamoring to get their hands on the latest generational AI, especially in light of its ability to generate a diverse range of data, images, video, and audio. It's only natural that Nvidia and Microsoft would be there to answer the call, particularly given the magnitude of the opportunity.

Estimates vary wildly. Global management consulting firm McKinsey estimates that AI will represent a potential opportunity between $9.5 trillion and $15.4 trillion annually. Cathie Wood's Ark Investment Management is much more bullish, estimating the midpoint of the opportunity at roughly $14 trillion, with a bull case as high as $41 trillion. 

This suggests that even if Nvidia and Microsoft can capture just a small slice of that potential, the companies -- and their investors -- will be reaping the rewards.