the future of artificial intelligence, OpenAI, a startup backed by Microsoft, established an early lead by launching ChatGPT last November. The app reached 100m users faster than any before it. Rivals scrambled.
Google and its corporate parent, Alphabet, rushed the release of a rival chatbot, Bard. So did startups like Anthropic. Venture capitalists poured over $40bn into AI firms in the first half of 2023, nearly a quarter of all venture dollars this year.
Then the frenzy died down. Public interest in AI peaked a couple of months ago, according to data from Google searches. Unique monthly visits to ChatGPT’s website have declined from 210m in May to 180m now (see chart).
The emerging order still sees OpenAI ahead technologically. Its latest AI model, GPT-4, is beating others on a variety of benchmarks (such as an ability to answer reading and maths questions). In head-to-head comparisons, it ranks roughly as far ahead of the current runner-up, Anthropic’s Claude 2, as the world’s top chess player does against his closest rival—a decent lead, even if not insurmountable.
More important, OpenAI is beginning to make real money. According to The Information, an online technology publication, it is earning revenues at an annualised rate of $1bn, compared with a trifling $28m in the year before ChatGPT’s launch. Can OpenAI translate its early edge into an enduring advantage, and join the ranks of big tech? To do so it must avoid the fate of erstwhile tech pioneers, from Netscape to Myspace, which were overtaken by rivals that learnt from their early successes and stumbles.
And as it is a first mover, the decisions it takes will also say much about the broader direction of a nascent industry. OpenAI is a curious firm. It was. Read more on livemint.com