One of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, OpenAI is enviable
OpenAI, the Californian startup behind the ChatGPT chatbot and the Dall-E 2 image generator, is the subject of growing interest from the tech world, although its funding model has yet to be determined.
After investing $ 1 billion in artificial intelligence (AI) tools in this specialist, Microsoft will be on the verge of including 10 times that amount as part of a fund, Semaphore website revealed.
If the transaction goes through, OpenAI’s value could then reach an astronomical $29 billion.
Microsoft and OpenAI did not confirm this information to AFP.
“With ChatGPT being one of the most innovative AI technologies in the industry, Microsoft is clearly aggressive in this space and has no intention of backing down from a potentially game-changing investment in AI,” said Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities.
The computer giant, which has not hidden its ambitions in terms of artificial intelligence, has already integrated Dall-E 2 into several applications. Bloomberg understands that it wants to add ChatGPT to the Bing search engine and thereby compete with Google.
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Since ChatGPT’s launch in late November, the chatbot’s prowess, capable of crafting detailed answers on a wide range of topics in seconds, has piqued the interest of internet users.
Artificial intelligence expert Robb Wilson, founder of chatbot development platform OneReach.ai, notes that its success is partly due to OpenAI’s smart marketing strategy.
“It’s one thing to make this technology accessible to professionals,” says Wilson.
“Offering it through a user interface and allowing the general public to play with it has triggered a wave of enthusiasm for this tool,” he continues.
Founded in late 2015, OpenAi is led by 37-year-old entrepreneur Sam Altman, former president of startup accelerator Y Combinator.
The company was able to count on the financial support of influential contributors from the beginning, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, investor Peter Thiel and a certain Elon Musk.
The multibillionaire served on OpenAI’s board of directors until 2018, but left to focus on his responsibilities at Tesla.
The startup also relies on a team of computer scientists and researchers led by former Google executive and machine learning expert Ilya Sutskever.
OpenAI, which did not respond to calls from AFP, had about 200 employees in 2021, according to a direct survey on ChatGPT.
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Although OpenAI has a lot of promise technologically, the company has yet to find its way to financial stability.
Founded as a non-profit association, the startup became a “limited profit” company in 2019 to raise capital.
During the announcement of Microsoft’s investment, he also announced his intention to commercialize his technologies.
Recently, OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman announced that a paid version of ChatGPT is in the works. It will offer advanced features including faster responses for users.
For a company with large expenses, the search for financing seems necessary.
In a Twitter exchange with Elon Musk in early December, Sam Altman admitted that every conversation on ChatGPT costs OpenAI a few cents.
Tom Goldstein, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, estimates that the company pays $100,000 a day for the chatbot, or about $3 million a month.
A partnership with Microsoft, which provides the startup with remote computing services, can reduce costs.
“Either way, it’s not cheap,” Goldstein said.