What do we know about OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT in which Microsoft invests billions? – Ouest-France night edition


The ChatGPT software feat has been making the rounds on the Internet for several weeks now. Behind this computer program, capable of generating texts or answering questions, is a startup based in the United States, OpenAI. A company in which the American giant Microsoft invests billions of dollars.

He can give a cooking recipe, write a philosophy dissertation, answer questions or even pass an American university exam… The ChatGPT software feat has been circulating on the Internet for several weeks now. This computer program, based on artificial intelligence, is capable of writing texts that are sometimes impressively coherent (but not always), its performance is also sometimes cause for concern. Behind this program is OpenAI, a startup based in San Francisco, USA. The company is of great interest to the American computer giant Microsoft, which has already invested more than 3 billion dollars (2.76 billion euros) in the company since 2019. And it has not ended since the company announced a new investment on Monday, January 23, 2023. Value: 10 billion dollars, or more than 9 billion euros according to the Bloomberg news agency… Here’s what we know about OpenAI.

Read too: We tested ChatGPT, the computer robot that writes texts… Bluff and a little disturbing!

Elon Musk among its founders

OpenAI’s history begins in 2015. Its founders are “a small group of entrepreneurs and researchers specialized in artificial intelligence”, watch the american daily The New York Times newspaper. Among them, stands out… Elon Musk. The head of SpaceX and Tesla or the social network Twitter left OpenAI in 2018, and has since expressed concern with the emergence of technologies based on artificial intelligence.

Among the founders are also businessman Sam Altman, head of Y Combinator, a powerful investment company in start-ups, or Canadian computer scientist Ilya Sutskever, “one of the most important researchers of the last decade”, according New York Times.

Initially, in 2015, OpenAI presented itself as “ a non-profit artificial intelligence research company ». Your objective : “Advancing digital artificial intelligence in the most likely way to benefit humanity as a whole, without being constrained by the need to generate financial returns…” But after 2018 and the departure of Elon Musk, OpenAI becomes a “classic” company, with the aim of raising funds to finance its research. Which works since 2019, Microsoft is investing a billion dollars.

Today, OpenAI LP is “led by the board of directors of the non-profit organization OpenAI”, reads on their website. In particular sit Sam Altman, the president and CEO, or Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientific officer. In addition to several personalities “that are not employed by OpenAI”.

Read too: Student cheating with ChatGPT software forces universities to review exams

“Limited society”

OpenAI doesn’t just build ChatGPT. Among its programs is also the DALL-E 2 software, which allows you to generate images from text with a single click. The company sells its services to several other digital players. For example, the company offers its potential customers“Integrate DALL-E directly into the [leurs] applications to generate and modify unpublished images and illustrations ». Price: 0.02 cents per image for the highest resolution, 1024 pixels by 1024 pixels…

Read too: This software creates with one click a hyper realistic image from a simple description

“The startup plans to earn US$ 200 million in 2023 with licenses and products Award like ChatGPT Professional, a pittance compared to the billions of dollars that have been invested in the startup so far,” note the specialized media TechCrunch.

OpenAI is now a “limited profit company”. This means that investors can at most expect to recoup 100 times the initial outlay and no more. And maybe less in the future, the company explained in 2019.

But ROI isn’t just what companies investing money in OpenAI are looking for. Microsoft, which announced the layoff of 10,000 employees, would like to integrate these artificial intelligence technologies into some of its programs, such as the Bing search engine, office applications from the Office suite or even Teams messages, underlines Bloomberg.

Microsoft seems to rely heavily on artificial intelligence. This is what Brad Smith, the president of the American giant, said in mid-December in an interview with the Reuters news agency: “In 2023, we will see advances that people would have imagined two years ago to 2033. This will be extremely important, not just for Microsoft’s future, but for everyone’s future. »

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