OpenAI is an artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory consisting of the for-profit corporation OpenAI LP and its parent company, the non-profit OpenAI Inc. The company conducts research in the field of AI with the stated goal of promoting and developing friendly AI in a way that benefits humanity as a whole. The organization was founded in San Francisco in late 2015 by Sam Altman, Elon Musk, and others, who collectively pledged US$1 billion. Musk resigned from the board in February 2018 but remained a donor. In 2019, OpenAI LP received a US$1 billion investment from Microsoft and Matthew Brown Companies. OpenAI is headquartered at the Pioneer Building in Mission District, San Francisco.
In December 2015, Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, and YC Research announced the formation of OpenAI and pledged over US$1 billion to the venture. The organization stated it would “freely collaborate” with other institutions and researchers by making its patents and research open to the public.
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In April 2016, OpenAI released a public beta of “OpenAI Gym”, its platform for reinforcement learning research. In December 2016, OpenAI released “Universe”, a software platform for measuring and training an AI’s general intelligence across the world’s supply of games, websites and other applications.
In 2018, Musk resigned his board seat, citing “a potential future conflict (of interest)” with Tesla AI development for self driving cars, but remained a donor.
In 2019, OpenAI transitioned from non-profit to “capped” for-profit, with profit cap set to 100X on any investment. The company distributed equity to its employees and partnered with Microsoft, who announced an investment package of US$1 billion into the company. OpenAI then announced its intention to commercially license its technologies.
In 2020, OpenAI announced GPT-3, a language model trained on trillions of words from the Internet. It also announced that an associated API, named simply “the API”, would form the heart of its first commercial product. GPT-3 is aimed at natural language answering of questions, but it can also translate between languages and coherently generate improvised text.
In 2021, OpenAI introduced DALL-E, a deep learning model that can generate digital images from natural language descriptions.
Around December 2022, OpenAI received widespread media coverage after launching a free preview of ChatGPT, its new AI chatbot based on GPT-3.5. According to OpenAI, the preview received over a million signups within the first five days. According to anonymous sources cited by Reuters in December 2022, OpenAI was projecting a US$200 million revenue for 2023 and US$1 billion revenue for 2024. As of January 2023, it was in talks for funding that would value the company at $29 billion.
Link to the rest at Wikipedia and thanks to F. for the tip.
PG notes that the OP contains lots of links and is likely to be a good starting point for anyone who wishes to dive into the state of AI, at least in the US.
1 thought on “OpenAI Background”
The recent flood of news and products built around GPT tech reminds me of the early PC era, pre IBM, when a dozen companies used the then-new microprocessor tech to build computers, aiming at markets that weren’t a match for even the cheapest computers of the age.
The microprocessors that Zilog, Motorola, MOS TECHNOLOGY, and above all Intel created opened the door to a new age of computing that not only brought computers to the masses (“A computer in every business and every home…” which was the first half of Bill Gates’ mantra “…all of them running Microsoft software.” 😀 ) but enabled new uses that never made sense when computers cost tens of thousands of pre-stagflation dollars. Things like word processors, spreadsheets, presentations, image editing, desktop publishing (Anybody remember PRINT SHOP?). And, wilder still, the $200B gaming markets that evolved out of the Colosal Cave, Adventure, Star Trek, and LIFE unofficial games played on mainframes on the sly.
Legend has it that Ken Olsen, Founder of DEC, home of VAXes, told one of his best salesmen, David Ahl, who had asked engineers to assemble a lost cost single user VAX for small business, schools, and afluent homes, that “nobody wants a home computer”. Ahl quit a few years later and went on to found an early personal computing magazine, aptly titled CREATIVE COMPUTING. (Their April issues are still legendary for their slipstreamed spoof ads, some barely distinguishable from the real thing. Very ONION-like.)
In reality, both men were right.
Olsen understood the market for the computers he made and the uses they were put to. Corporate accounting, scientific computing, data processing in general were not things anybody would pay thousands to do at home.
But Ahl, as a salesman, understood there were people who could and would use computers for other things outside the glass houses. His vision for computing was broader that just number crunching. In particular he saw the potential for personalized education.
Both men were also wrong because computers are no longer just for computing.
They’re for everything. Phones, TVs, cars, planes, ships, tanks, all sorts of weapons; fishing, hunting, writing, drawing, gaming, gossiping…
GPT and its kin are, like the microprocessors of the ’70’s, the precursors to an entirely new set of software tools that will amplify and extend human capabilities, doing for the brain what robots are doing for the hands. If we stop and think of the things we do every day, the things we wished we could do better, with less drudge work (proof reading, for one) we can all identify a thing or two these new tools might help with. Add them all up and like Ahl, we’ll still fall short of what’s headed our way.
It might be a good idea to keep an eye out on what these “AI” tools will bring because we’ll have to live in a world where, like microprocessors, they are everywhere. And a freely available open engine like OPEN AI is putting out there (Think of it as MS DOS 1.0) is just the beginning. That AI is just begging creatives to get creative.
IBM had no idea what they were unleashing when they agreed to let MS license DOS (and its APIs) to all comers at reasonable terms.
OPEN AI does.
(So does today’s Microsoft, offering up $10B to boost their share in the company to 49%. Nadella may be a kinder/gentler CEO than Gates but he is showing himself to be at least his equal in vision and aggressiveness.)
The game is afoot.
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