OpenAI unveils customized AI bots; offers developers cheaper, better models

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[1/2]AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - OpenAI said on Monday it will enable ChatGPT users to build customized AI bots called GPTs to handle specific tasks, and it has slashed costs on more powerful models for developers.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman shared the updates at the artificial-intelligence lab's first developer conference, which attracted 900 developers from around the world and marked the company's latest attempt to capitalize on the popularity of ChatGPT by offering both developers and average users incentives to build in its ecosystem. ChatGPT, launched in November 2022, now has 100 million weekly active users, Altman said.

OpenAI is launching a marketplace for GPTs, which are AI agents that will allow ChatGPT to book flights and perform other tasks when commanded by a human without close supervision.

It will launch a GPT Store later this month where people can share their GPTs and earn money based on the number of users. It's a renewed effort from the company's failed attempts to build an ecosystem of ChatGPT plugins earlier this year.

"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 at the event in San Francisco.

"We really believe that gradual iterative deployment is the best way to address the safety challenges of AI. We think it's especially important to move carefully towards this future of agents."


Even before attendees were allowed to check in early Monday morning, hundreds had lined up around the block in the Mid-Market neighborhood in downtown San Francisco. Most were developers who already were using OpenAI technology and wanted updates. The YouTube live stream of Altman's speech attracted more than 40,000 viewers.

For its 2 million developers, OpenAI announced a new GPT-4 Turbo model and slashed the cost by more than 50%. It unveiled assistant application programming interfaces (APIs) with vision and image modalities, confirming a Reuters report. It also launched a beta program for developers to fine-tune GPT-4 models.

"It's a huge boom for startups like us. All of a sudden, our costs went down by a factor of three X, which is huge," said Flo Crivello, the founder of AI assistant startup Lindy and one of the attendees at the conference.

Crivello also acknowledged Lindy could be competing with OpenAI's upcoming GPT bots, calling his startup's relationship with OpenAI "complicated.".

Speaking to the media on Monday, Altman warned startups using OpenAI's technology against building applications that only have simple integrations with OpenAI.

"We are planning to build the obvious features," he said. "But there's enormous value to building a deeper integration on top of OpenAI."

Altman said he envisions a future where each person has multiple GPTs that can work together to accomplish tasks on their behalf.

OpenAI wants more enterprises and developers to build models to rival those developed by Anthropic and Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google, and open source models such as Meta Platforms' (META.O) Llama. It also competes for enterprise customers with Microsoft.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of OpenAI backer Microsoft (MSFT.O), made a brief, surprise appearance at the conference, reiterating his support for the expensive race in building foundation models. Microsoft has invested more than $10 billion in OpenAI.

"We commit ourselves deeply to making sure you all, as builders of these foundation models, have not only the best systems for training and inference, but the most compute so that you can keep pushing forward on the frontier," he said.

To address data and price concerns of big enterprises, OpenAI launched its Custom Models program, offering a dedicated group of researchers to train custom GPT-4 for them.

It matched offers from Google and Microsoft to cover any legal costs incurred by claims around copyright infringement for enterprise users.

Reporting by Krystal Hu and Anna Tong in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang, Matthew Lewis and Paul Simao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Krystal reports on venture capital and startups for Reuters. She covers Silicon Valley and beyond through the lens of money and characters, with a focus on growth-stage startups, tech investments and AI. She has previously covered M&A for Reuters, breaking stories on Trump's SPAC and Elon Musk's Twitter financing. Previously, she reported on Amazon for Yahoo Finance, and her investigation of the company's retail practice was cited by lawmakers in Congress. Krystal started a career in journalism by writing about tech and politics in China. She has a master's degree from New York University, and enjoys a scoop of Matcha ice cream as much as getting a scoop at work.

Anna Tong is a correspondent for Reuters based in San Francisco, where she reports on the technology industry. She joined Reuters in 2023 after working at the San Francisco Standard as a data editor. Tong previously worked at technology startups as a product manager and at Google where she worked in user insights and helped run a call center. Tong graduated from Harvard University. Contact:4152373211

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