OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman participated in an interview to Techcrunch late last week, answering questions about some of his more ambitious personal investments, as well as the future of OpenAI.
There was much to discuss. The now eight-year-old company has dominated tech publications in the two months since it launched ChatGPT, a chatbot that answers questions like a human. OpenAI's products haven't just wowed users. The company is reportedly in talks to oversee the sale of existing shares to new investors at a valuation of $29 billion.
Altman declined to talk about the company's current business dealings. However, he revealed little about the company's plans for the future.
Altman made it clear that OpenAI's evolving partnership with Microsoft – which first invested in OpenA in 2019, and earlier confirmed that it plans to integrate artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT on all its products – it is not an exclusive agreement.
Further, Altman confirmed that OpenAI can build its own software products and services, in addition to licensing its technology to other companies. That's notable to industry watchers who have wondered whether OpenAI could one day directly compete with Google with a search engine of its own. Asked about this scenario, Altman stated:
"Whenever someone talks about a technology being the end of another giant company, they're usually wrong. People forget that they can take steps on the opposite side and they're smart enough, capable enough."
As for when OpenAI plans to release the fourth version of GPT, the advanced language model on which ChatGPT is based, Altman said only that the long-awaited product will "come out at some point when we're confident it can be released safely and responsibly." .
He also tried to temper expectations for GPT-4, saying "we don't have a real AGI," meaning artificial general intelligence, or a technology with its own emergent intelligence, relative to current models of deep intelligence. OpenAI learning algorithms that solve problems and identify patterns through trial and error.