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OpenAI Scoops Big Tech With Launch of GPT App Store


A lot can change in a year, just ask OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

Last November, his company launched its ChatGPT product to the public and jumpstarted the generative artificial intelligence (AI) boom, forcing perennial tech leaders like Meta, Google, Amazon and others to play catch-up with the innovative technology.

This November, Altman shared at OpenAI’s first-ever Developer Day event (Nov. 6) that around 92% of the Fortune 500 is using its AI products and 100 million people are actively using ChatGPT every week.

Now, as the AI landscape grows increasingly crowded, OpenAI is hoping to retain its early lead in the space by creating a whole new competitive dynamic.

How? By creating a low-to-no-code platform for users to build their own customized AI-powered chatbots.

Per Monday’s event, OpenAI users will be able to build the bespoke AI apps, which it calls “GPTs,” using natural language prompts, even if they have no prior coding knowledge.

In a blog post, the company listed examples like a Laundry Buddy, which can assist with stains, settings and sortings; a Negotiator to help with self-advocacy; a Writing Coach; a Tech Advisor for help with device troubleshooting; and other purpose-built assistants.

“Eventually, you’ll just ask the computer for what you need, and it’ll do all of these tasks for you,” Altman said in his keynote speech.

Maybe not quite the jobs that Elon Musk claimed would be rendered obsolete by AI, but a start.

What’s interesting about OpenAI’s announcement is that the AI firm is positioning its user-built GPTs as the AI equivalent of apps and creating a marketplace where people can buy and sell their GPTs to other users.

Read also: Sam Altman’s Gen AI ‘iPhone’ Could Upend the AI Economy

Turning the App Store Into the AI Store

OpenAI’s GPT store, which launches later this month, will initially feature AI creations from verified builders but will eventually open to the broader public.

The AI pioneer is betting on natural language prompts as being a future-fit interface for users to engage with AI technology as the innovation matures and adoption grows. By making it easy for everyday users to create GPTs, the company hopes that more users will do so.

“Creating one is as easy as starting a conversation,” the blog post stated.

Already, 2 million developers around the world are working with OpenAI’s products, and the company gave away $500 in credits to everyone in the audience at its Developer Day event to inspire them to start building with its new tools.

PYMNTS Intelligence found that next-generation interfaces, including voice and natural language, are already having a right-now impact on the way that end-users engage with computing processes and workflows. Fifty-eight percent of consumers said they would use voice technology for the ability to complete tasks faster, easier and more efficiently, and many said they believe that it will be less than five years until voice recognition technology is advanced enough to make speaking to voice assistants comparable to speaking with humans.

Altman said at OpenAI’s event that successful GPT creators could make a living selling their apps on the future marketplace, although the company hasn’t revealed any details yet as to how the revenue-sharing model for its marketplace would work.

The company also announced an enterprise GPT program, designed to let organizations build their own models with help from OpenAI researchers.

Altman acknowledged that the new enterprise-focused program will compete with OpenAI’s largest partner, Microsoft. But there isn’t any bad blood. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared the stage on Monday and emphasized the two companies’ dedication to growing the AI ecosystem more broadly, saying that what is most important right now is “getting benefits of AI broadly disseminated to everyone.”

And while AI might be disseminated to everyone, OpenAI wants to establish itself as the home base for developers and users.

See also: Walled Garden LLMs Build Enterprise Trust in AI

A Drumbeat of AI Announcements

The GPT store wasn’t the only announcement made at Monday’s event.

OpenAI also revealed an improved version of its GPT-4 model called GPT-4 Turbo, which will come in two versions: one for text-only analysis, and another that can parse both text and images.

GPT-4 Turbo has a context window four times greater than GPT-4 (roughly 100,000 words) and has a knowledge cutoff of April 2023, compared to GPT-4’s September 2021 cutoff.

“We are just as annoyed as all of you —probably more — that GPT4’s knowledge ended in 2021,” Altman said at Monday’s event. “We will try to never let it get that out of date again.”

The company also announced a new text-to-speech application programming interface (API) called Audio API with six preset voices: Alloy, Echo, Fable, Onyx, Nova and Shimer. And there’s a new program called Copyright Shield that promises to protect businesses using OpenAI’s products from copyright claims by paying their legal fees.

“What we launched today is going to look very quaint relative to what we’re busy creating for you now,” Altman said at the end of the event.

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