PARIS: The hottest startup in Silicon Valley right now is OpenAI, the developer of Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, a much-hyped chatbot that can write a poem, a college essay or even a string of software code.
Tesla tycoon Elon Musk was an early investor in OpenAI, and Microsoft is reportedly in talks for an initial investment of $1 billion to $10 billion, aiming to challenge Google’s global search engine dominance.
If agreed, the cash injection from the Windows maker would value OpenAI at $29 billion, making it a rare success in the tech world when major players like Amazon, Meta and Twitter are cutting costs and laying off staff.
“Microsoft is clearly aggressive on this front and is not going to hold back on a potentially game-changing AI investment,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives.
Before the release of ChatGPT, OpenAI had wowed tech geeks with Dall-E 2, a software that creates digital images with a simple instruction.
Microsoft, which has made no secret of its AI ambitions, has integrated Dall-E 2 into many of its apps, and now, according to a Bloomberg report, the tech giant wants to transplant ChatGPT into its search engine Bing to take on Google.
Ever since ChatGPT was introduced in November, the prowess of this chatbot has sparked the curiosity and fascination of internet users.
It is able to formulate detailed and human answers to a wide range of topics in seconds, raising fears that it is vulnerable to misuse by school scams or misinformation.
The runaway success is partly due to OpenAI’s clever marketing strategy of making its research accessible to non-experts, said AI expert Robb Wilson, founder of OneReach.ai, a software company.
“Having this technology available to technologists was one thing. By offering it in a chat UI and allowing non-developers to start playing with it, it sparked a conversation,” he said. Founded in late 2015, OpenAI is led by Sam Altman, a 37-year-old entrepreneur and former president of startup incubator Y Combinator.