Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, has called what OpenAI has done with ChatGPT “truly one of the greatest things ever made for computers.” And I’m confident that his lavish praise for the AI chatbot is technology-only and has little to do with the fact that Nvidia is one of the tech world’s biggest indirect financial beneficiaries of ChatGPT’s recent viral success.
While conducting an informal “fireside chat” at Berkley Haas University (opens in new tab) a few weeks ago (via WCCFTech (opens in new tab)), Huang was asked what he thought of ChatGPT as a technology in a Q&A session, and he immediately said, “ChatGPT is a very, very big deal.” That was before the viral AI phenomenon was compared to the iPhone revolution and that it “democratized computing in a very big way.”
“For a lot of people in the industry who have been working on this,” says Huang, “we’ve been waiting for this moment. This is the iPhone artificial intelligence moment, if you will. The big ideas about mobile computing came together in a product that everyone kind of… ‘I see it, I see it.’
“In the entire 40 years that I’ve been in the industry, all we’ve done is make computers harder and harder for people to program, and that’s why the technology gap has been so wide. And the technological gap kept widening. Except for a day. Suddenly anyone can program a computer, literally anyone can program a computer.”
What Huang says about the complexities of computing and programming that erects a barrier between humans and the machines they use every day is true, and ChatGPT has shown in one fell swoop that the technological divide can be bridged with an AI assistant.
I can already ask ChatGPT to write me a little HTML that improves my CMS, something I would have to wait ages for our developers to come up with (and provide support tickets in triplicate). Just through a simple command prompt and a bit of cleanup, I can get this working almost instantly and with no real knowledge of the actual code.
Of course, there’s a chance that this could pose a problem if ChatGPT or some other AI assistant decides to fire malicious code at me and I, being a fool, can’t spot it before ramming it into my system. But it can also provide me with a way to access knowledge in a way that doesn’t immediately melt my brain when trying to learn it from an online textbook.
But Jen-Hsun also has other reasons for being so positive about what ChatGPT has accomplished through its recent viral rip. At a time when the market value of tech companies is taking a huge slump (opens in new tab) and a slowdown in the PC market is putting a particular strain on companies like Intel and AMD, Nvidia has actually seen its share price rise 49% year-to-date .
It’s now at its highest point in the last six months, and that’s largely due to its position as hardware powering AI computing (opens in new tab) such as that used by OpenAI. That gives Nvidia tremendous tailwind at a point where you could say its traditional revenue stream is faltering.
(Image credit: Nvidia)
Apart from that, Nvidia has consistently championed artificial intelligence and placed itself at the center of research in the field. So when Huang says he’s been waiting for this moment, you have to believe him.
“We have democratized data processing,” says Huang. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a farmer, a doctor, a nurse, a frontline worker, a travel agent, it doesn’t matter, a small business, a restaurant owner, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is a programmer now, you just have to get this thing to write a program for you, do something for you, automate something for you.
“We’ve done… what OpenAI has done and what the team over there has done is truly one of the greatest things ever done for computer science. We democratized computer science in a very, very big way. And I’m very, very excited about that.”