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OpenAI Is the Talk of the Tech World — Microsoft Considers $10B Investment

Danielle Letenyei - Author
By

Jan. 11 2023, Published 2:11 p.m. ET

Microsoft is looking to invest $10 billion in artificial intelligence company OpenAI, reports CNBC. Some see the move as a way for Microsoft to compete with search engine giant Google.

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OpenAI has been the talk of the tech world recently for its text-based AI tool ChatGPT. Launched in November, ChatGPT is a chatbot that uses AI technology to answer questions, write essays, provide customer service, and even help with math homework.

AI board
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AI board

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Who owns OpenAI?

OpenAI is owned by a group of technology entrepreneurs who have been involved with other startups such as LinkedIn, Y Combinator, PayPal, and Tesla. OpenAI’s co-founders include:

  • Sam Altman, CEO, former president of Y Combinator,

  • Greg Brockman, President, formerly of Stripe,

  • Reid Hoffman, who is also a co-founder of LinkedIn,

  • Ilya Sutskever, former Google expert,

  • Peter Thiel, who also co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies,

  • Jessica Livingston, founding partner of Y Combinator,

  • Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, SpaceX, Starlink, Neuralink, and The Boring Company.

The group came together in December 2015 and pledged more than $1 billion to launch OpenAI. According to the company website, the goal of OpenAI is to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstraint by a need to generate financial return.”

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Two OpenAI co-founders Elon Musk and Sam Altman

How is Elon Musk involved with OpenAI?

Musk was one of the co-founders of OpenAI, but he resigned from the company’s board of directors in December 2018. He left to avoid a conflict of interest between OpenAI’s work and Tesla’s machine learning research to develop autonomous driving, The Verge reported.

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“As Tesla continues to become more focused on AI, this will eliminate a potential future conflict for Elon,” states a blog post on the OpenAI website. Musk continues to donate and advise the company.

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Musk has been public about his wariness of advanced AI and its possible dangers. In a Dec. 3 tweet, he called ChatGPT “scary good.” However, in another tweet on Dec. 4, he said he paused OpenAI’s access to the Twitter database.

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“Need to understand more about governance structure and revenue plans going forward. OpenAI was started as open-source and non-profit. Neither are still true,” Musk said in the tweet.

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What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a language-generation platform that interacts conversationally with users. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.

People are using ChatGPT for a number of tasks, such as writing stories, composing cover letters and resumes, building business proposals, coding software, and even writing poetry and song lyrics. The platform reached 1 million users five days after it was released.

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OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman warns users not to use ChatGPT for "anything important."

“ChatGPT is incredibly limited but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. It's a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. it’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness,” Altman tweeted on Dec. 10, 2022.

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