Microsoft bets big on ChatGPT creator in race for AI dominance
OpenAI is led by Sam Altman, who rose to prominence in Silicon Valley as the head of start-up builder Y Combinator. Mr. Altman, 37, and his co-founders started OpenAI in 2015 as a nonprofit. But he quickly remade the business as a for-profit venture that could seek funding more aggressively.
A year later, Microsoft invested $1 billion in the company and pledged to develop the supercomputer technologies that massive OpenAI models would demand while becoming its “preferred partner for commercializing” its technologies. OpenAI then officially licensed its technologies to Microsoft, allowing the company to add them directly to Microsoft products and services.
With support from Microsoft, OpenAI continued to develop a flagship technology called GPT-3. Known as the “big language model,” it could generate text on its own, including tweets, blog posts, news articles, and even computer code.
Clumsy to use, it was mostly a tool for businesses and engineers. But a year later, OpenAI started working on DALL-E, which allowed anyone to generate realistic images simply by describing what they wanted to see. Microsoft has integrated GPT-3, DALL-E and similar technologies into its own products.
GitHub, a popular online service for programmers owned by Microsoft, has started offering a programming tool called Copilot. As programmers built smartphone apps and other software, Copilot suggested the next line of code as they typed, the same way auto-complete tools suggest the next word when you type. type texts or emails.
For many, it was a “breathtaking moment” that showed what is possible, Microsoft’s Boyd said.
Then, late last year, OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT. Over a million people tested the chatbot in its first days online. It answered trivial questions, explained ideas, and generated everything from school papers to pop song lyrics.