Who is OpenAI, the company behind the comprehensive development of Dall-E, ChatGPT and artificial intelligence?

“We believe that artificial intelligence should be an extension of individual human agency and should be distributed as widely and equally as possible in the spirit of liberty.” Reading OpenAI’s birth certificate today, written in 2015, it still sounds as revolutionary as it did then.

Create a “Friendly AI”.

In a very modest blog post, OpenAI detailed its mission, both simple and highly complex: to create a “general” artificial intelligence, that is, capable of understanding and learning in the same way, or almost, as a human. “It’s hard to imagine how much human-level AI could benefit society. It’s hard to imagine how much damage it can do if it’s not properly installed or used., warned the young man by hitting him. The structure was later designed as a non-profit organization “Break free from financial constraints and make long-term beneficial impact through research”.

Behind these half-confident, half-fearful pronouncements we find Greg Brockman, then a former engineer at financial firm Stripe; Ilya Sutskever, a machine learning expert who cut his teeth at Google; and Sam Altman, CEO of venture capital firm Y Combinator. Three men repeat over and over wanting to create one “Friendly AI”, that is, artificial intelligence that will have a beneficial, not a negative, effect on humanity. The authors shared their fear of seeing the human race overtaken by machines at the time with another engineer and businessman: Elon Musk.

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Silicon Valley Star Parade

Long before he took control of Twitter and laid off half his staff, the multi-billionaire spoke volumes about the dangers of artificial intelligence. At MIT in 2014, he declared that artificial intelligences in particular can be represented “The Greatest Existential Risk” that humanity has never faced and should have “Extremely careful in the development of artificial intelligence”. So it’s only natural that an entrepreneur funds the start-up of OpenAI, committed to the need to create friendly artificial intelligence.

But Tesla’s boss was not alone in the adventure. Peter Thiel, the sulphurous founder of Amazon Web Services and PayPal, has also agreed to fund OpenAI. It must be said that at the helm were the respected brains from Silicon Valley of the once very popular company Leap Motion. A few years later, in July 2019, Microsoft reached into the wallet to inject $1 billion into OpenAI and provide privileged access to the firm’s technologies.

OpenAI stands out as a company to watch

At that time, OpenAI had already introduced two relatively amazing versions of the GPT language model, which would become the “brain” of many other projects, such as Dall-E-2 and ChatGPT, which are well known today. In 2019, OpenAI Five (bots trained by the company using reinforcement learning techniques) also had the luxury of defeating the world champion. Dota 2very popular MOBA.

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In 2020, a tool arrived that would increase OpenAI’s popularity among the general public: GPT-3, the most complex natural language processing (NLP) model ever produced, considering 175 billion data points. The amount of documents digested by GPT-3 to improve understanding and text production is also dizzying. To get an idea, the entire English Wikipedia is 0.6% of the data analyzed by artificial intelligence.

In the future, AI will be able to understand language better because it can see what words and sentences mean.

A year later, GPT-3’s cousin, Dall-E, surprised the small tech world again thanks to its relatively good understanding of language and its ability to create images that combine several concepts. “baby in a tutu walks a radish dog”. Then it was the turn of Dall-E-2, the first version available to the general public, which became a phenomenal success on social networks. “We live in a visual worldIlya Sutskever explains. In the future, you will have templates that include both text and images. AI will be able to understand language better because it can see what words and sentences mean.”

Growth and some contradictions

Thus, in seven short years, OpenAI has become, without some controversy, the company behind the biggest industrial successes in the artificial intelligence sector. In 2019, the non-profit organization became a “limited profit” company to meet significant financial needs. Under this new status, the company agrees to limit its earnings to a ceiling set at 100 times the investment amount. A generous sum, some say, that would distract OpenAI from its historic mission. “Just fiduciary obligations to humanity itself”.

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The company also has only 25% women or non-binary people on its staff and 30% on its board. At a time when racist and sexist prejudices are being discussed, complacency is not enough. A fairly noted inter-me promoting a very holistic culture where AI research is seen as a way of life rather than just a job. according to MIT Technology Reviewa part of the employee’s salary is also indexed “assimilation” corporate culture. OpenAI has also been accused of having a very personal definition of transparency, maintaining tight secrecy around its research before (and sometimes later) publishing results.

According to its leader, OpenAI’s concerns have not changed yet. In a 2021 interview, Sam Altman reiterated that the company’s goal is to create general artificial intelligence. “Moving in the right direction, not wrong”. As an example, a young CEO tries to explain the social benefit of a model like GPT-3: “You can imagine private tutors in the form of AI that can teach you anything you want to know […] AI life coaches, therapists or medical advisors”Lists California, however, identifies such uses “It will still take a lot of time and a lot of work”.

Given such ambitions and the risks they represent, it’s no surprise that OpenAI is trying hard to tame AI.

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