When you talk about Elon Musk, companies like Twitter, Tesla or SpaceX probably come to mind. But little do people know about Elon Musk’s company OpenAI — an artificial intelligence (AI) research and development company behind the disruptive chatbot ChatGPT.
OpenAI, the brainchild of Musk and former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, launched ChatGPT in November 2022 and within a week the application saw a surge of over a million users. Being able to do everything between coding and interacting that mimics human intelligence, ChatGPT has surpassed previous AI capability standards and opened a new chapter in AI technologies and machine learning systems.
If you are fascinated by artificial intelligence and interested in deep learning and its benefits for mankind, you must know the history of OpenAI and the stages of development of AI.
Here are all the details on OpenAI co-founded by Elon Musk
When was OpenAI started and who are its bosses?
Founded in 2015, this altruistic artificial intelligence company is headquartered in San Francisco. It was founded by Musk and Altman. They saw collaborations with other Silicon Valley tech pros like Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, who pledged $1 billion to OpenAI that year.
To quote an OpenAI blog, “OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research company.” It went on to say, “OpenAI’s mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity,” in a holistic way, without hope for profit.
Today, OpenAI LP is governed by the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization OpenAI. It consists of OpenAI LP employees Greg Brockman (Chairman and President), Ilya Sutskever (Chief Scientist) and Sam Altman (CEO). It also has non-employees Adam D’Angelo, Reid Hoffman, Will Hurd, Tasha McCauley, Helen Toner and Shivon Zilis on board as investors and Silicon Valley support.
Key strategic investors include Microsoft, Hoffman’s nonprofit foundation, and Khosla Ventures.
In 2018, three years after the company’s founding, Elon Musk resigned from OpenAI’s board of directors to avoid future conflicts as Tesla continues to expand in the field of artificial intelligence. However, Musk will continue to donate to his charitable cause and be a strong advisor.
Elon Musk’s involvement in OpenAI
Although Elon Musk’s resignation from OpenAI was announced due to conflicts of interest, the current Twitter supremo later said that he resigned because he couldn’t agree with certain company decisions and that he hasn’t been involved with the artificial intelligence company for over a year be .
Also, Tesla wanted to hire some of the same employees as OpenAI, and therefore, “Add all that and it was just better to part ways on good terms,” he tweeted.
However, that was not all. In 2020, Musk tweeted “OpenAI should be more open imo” and replied to a MIT Technology Review Investigation that unearthed a deep-rooted secret business model that contradicts its no-profit ideology and transparency.
OpenAI should be more open imo
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 17, 2020
Musk has also raised questions about security concerns and tweeted, mentioning Dario Amodei, a former Google engineer who now leads OpenAI’s strategy: “I have no control and very limited insight into OpenAI. Trust in Dario for safety is not high.”
Open the AI gym
Over the years, OpenAI has set a high benchmark in the artificial general intelligence segment with innovations and products aimed at mimicking human behavior and even surpassing human intelligence.
In April 2016, the company announced the launch of OpenAI Gym, “a toolkit for developing and comparing reinforcement learning algorithms.” Wondering what it is?
Reinforcement Learning (RL) “is the branch of machine learning that deals with decision making and motor control. It examines how an agent can learn to achieve goals in a complex, uncertain environment. These environments range from simulated robots to Atari games to algorithmic evaluations.
Put simply, the OpenAI Gym enables researchers and research organizations to achieve the best outcome and make a coherent decision based on AI inputs. In fact, the gym was originally founded to advance the company’s deep reinforcement learning research and expand artificial intelligence in the areas of conclusive assessment.
In December 2016, OpenAI announced another product called Universe. An OpenAI blog says it is a “software platform for measuring and training the overall intelligence of an AI across the world’s offering of games, websites, and other applications.”
In the field of artificial intelligence, it is imperative for an AI system to successfully complete all kinds of tasks that a human can do with a computer. In addition, Universe helps train an individual AI agent to complete computer tasks. And coupled with OpenAI Gym, this deep learning mechanism also leverages its experience and adapts to difficult or invisible environments to complete a task at hand.
The advancement of machine learning to push artificial intelligence into the human interaction segment is a game-changing innovation, and OpenAI’s chatbot GPT is a “disruptive” name in the sector. A chatbot is an artificial intelligence-based software application that can have human-like conversations. ChatGPT launched on November 30th and has gained a whopping million users in a week.
An OpenAI blog post states that their ChatGPT model is trained with a deep machine learning technique called Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), which helps simulate dialogues, answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge false premises and refuse inappropriate requests.
While Musk chimed in to praise the chatbot, he tweeted and said, “ChatGPT is scary good. We’re not far from dangerously powerful AI,” he later took to the microblogging site, saying that OpenAI has access to Twitter’s database used to train the tool. He added: “OpenAI was launched as open source and non-profit. Neither is true yet.”
The Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (GPT)-3 model has attracted a lot of attention. It is essentially a language model that uses deep learning to generate human-like text. In addition to machine-generated texts, stories, poems and codes can also be created. It is considered an upgrade of the previous GPT-2 model, released in 2019, which is a large transformer-based language model with 1.5 billion parameters, trained on a data set of 8 million web pages. Put simply, language models are a set of statistical tools that allow such technology to predict the next word or syntax of the sentence.
Non-profit to profit-restricted
Interestingly, in 2019, OpenAI is also transitioning from a non-profit organization to a for-profit entity. A blog published by OpenAI states, “We seek to enhance our ability to raise capital while serving our mission, and no existing legal structure we are aware of strikes the right balance. Our solution is to create OpenAI LP as a hybrid of a for-profit and a not-for-profit company – what we call a capped-profit company.”
This allows other investors to earn up to 100 times their principal amount, but not more, and the rest of the profits would be used for charitable work.
OpenAI collaborates with other technology giants
Over the years, OpenAI has pioneered the development of AI algorithms that benefit society and has partnered with other institutions in this regard.
In 2019, the company partnered with Microsoft as the latter invested $1 billion, while the AI company said it would exclusively license its technology with the tech company, as per a Business Insider Report. This would give Microsoft an edge over other organizations like Google’s AI company DeepMind.
AI paints original masterpieces
In 2021, Open AI took a futuristic leap and created DALL-E, one of the best AI tools capable of producing some of the most impressive masterpieces. And just a year later, it upgraded itself to launch Dall-E2, which delivers images with four times the resolution and precision.
Dall-E2 “is a new AI system that can create realistic images and art from a natural language description.” With rapid strokes, this human-like robotic hand can paint artworks that fuse concepts, attributes and style. If that’s not enough, Dall-E2 can build on an existing artwork and create new extended original canvases. It can add unimaginably realistic edits to an existing image and create different variations of a previous image.
Will a human-like robotic hand be the future?
Such intense AI innovations and years of research only show how machines have acquired near-human-like characteristics. However, experts have also viewed it as the greatest existential threat facing humanity, and Elon Musk has also shared the same thought.
While humans are the ones who made it, Stephen Hawking once said so BBC that AI could potentially “reconfigure itself at an ever increasing rate” and overtake humans by outperforming biological evolution.
There is no denying that artificial intelligence has made huge leaps and its impact is being felt in almost every aspect. From delivering daily news to creating world-class classic art to running a full-fledged conversation, artificial intelligence and its dynamics have incredible potential, but what the future holds remains to be seen.
(Hero credit: Possessed Photography/ @possessedphotography/ Unsplash; Feature credit: Andrea De Santis/ @santesson89/ Unsplash)