Image credits: Devin Koldewey
OpenAI took the lead (and “chat”) on ChatGPT today with the announcement of GPTs, a way for anyone to build their own version of the popular conversational AI system. Not only can you create your own GPT for fun or productivity, but you’ll soon be able to publish it on a marketplace they call the GPT Store — and maybe even make a little money in the process.
The new features, announced along with several others today at OpenAI’s first developer day in San Francisco, signal a more hands-off approach to the AI market, which has so far been defined by a handful of general-purpose systems. In fact, the systems mentioned are becoming more general-purpose with new capabilities, but the AI giant has clearly taken a page out of Apple’s book in seeing that being the go-to platform for the ingenuity of others is at least as valuable as having one’s own ingenuity. .
“We believe that if you give people the tools, they will do amazing things,” founder and CEO Sam Altman said on stage.
To that end, the company offers what it calls GPTs, “customized versions of ChatGPT that you can create for a specific purpose.” (And yes, you can expect some confusion around this point, since GPT, or “generative pre-trained transformer” is actually the technical term for this type of large language model.)
GPTs can be created without any programming experience, and can be as simple or complex as you want, they explain.
For example, you could have a GPT trained on your recipe collection so you can quickly ask what ingredients you need for that soup. Or you can have him absorb information about a sprawling fantasy series so you can ask, “Wait, who’s Sir Roderick Random?” And if you’re more serious-minded, you as a developer or company can get GPT trained on all your proprietary code, so others can quickly check their style or create consistent code.
It’s possible to create a GPT by simply chatting with ChatGPT and describing what you want – we’ll be able to test that soon.
“You can actually program GPT using the language just by talking to it,” Altman said. “It’s easy to customize behavior so they do what you want – this makes them very accessible and gives everyone the power to act.”
He showed this on stage, describing to ChatGPT in his “New GPT Draft” that he wanted to create a bot that would advise founders on how to improve their startups. He then uploaded a lecture he had given on the subject, which he said was brief and constructive, and decided it was ready to publish.
You’ll also be able to bring in external services, such as sending an unsupported language to the Translation API – but users will be able to choose whether their data can be treated this way.
Artificial intelligence app store
Perhaps the most impactful announcement today was of OpenAI’s GPT Store, which will serve as the platform through which these GPTs will be distributed, and eventually monetized:
Later this month, we’ll be launching the GPT Store, featuring the creations of verified creators. Once in the store, GPT results become searchable and may move up the leaderboards. We’ll also highlight the most useful and fun GPT features we come across in categories like Productivity, Education, and “Just For Fun.” In the coming months, you will also be able to earn money based on the number of people using your GPT.
Look familiar? The App Store model has proven incredibly profitable for Apple, so it’s no surprise that OpenAI is trying to replicate it here. GPTs will not only be hosted and developed on OpenAI platforms, but will also be promoted and evaluated.
“We will pay the people who make the most widely used and useful GPT devices a portion of our revenue,” Altman said, and they are “excited to share more information soon.”
It is not clear at this point whether there will be the ability to simply collect your GPT fees, or whether the revenue will be strictly shared. When I asked him later, he said he expected the strategy to evolve a lot, first with a direct revenue share (of unspecified size), and later the possibility of subscribing to individual GPTs if there is demand for that.
It’s not clear who exactly these “verified builders” are, but presumably this is just an obstacle to preventing low-effort and fraudulent things from making their way. (That will come later.) But they showed GPTs generated by Code.org, TripAdvisor, and TripAdvisor. Canva, so it may initially be more official applications rather than GPT experiences for individuals.
OpenAI is clearly aiming high here, and the decision to establish itself as a platform independent of existing app stores and distribution methods could put it squarely in conflict with industry giants like Apple and even its frequent sponsor, Microsoft. Apple may have trouble monetizing GPT models without taking its share via the App Store, so OpenAI will have to tread lightly here.
Microsoft is about to launch its own Copilot models dedicated to tasks like Office tools, and it certainly looks like GPTs might run wild in those enterprise-level models.
CEO Satya Nadella appeared on stage briefly to reiterate how happy he is with the partnership, but there’s definitely a sense that it’s OpenAI that is moving forward and that Microsoft is moving itself into a support role. How long can this relationship remain cordial? The next few years will be interesting to say the least.
Details of the GPT store are evolving as OpenAI accesses it throughout the day. We’ll update this post when we learn more.
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