The recent OpenAI developer conference made a major announcement that has sent shockwaves through the AI market. OpenAI introduced a new model called 'Turbo', an advanced version of GPT-4, which comes with several exciting features that enhance outputs and provide developers with more control over their models. In addition, OpenAI has managed to further decrease API costs, making their technology even more accessible.
While these announcements garnered attention, there was one announcement that went largely unnoticed by the media but had the greatest impact on the AI market. OpenAI unveiled a new feature called ChatGPT, which caught many by surprise, including OpenAI themselves. Top management at OpenAI, such as Ilya Sutskever, Mina Murati, and Sam Altman, admitted that they did not expect ChatGPT to gain such massive popularity.
Within just two months of its release in November 2022, ChatGPT had already amassed 100 million first-time users, making it the fastest-growing product in history at the time. Today, it boasts over 100 million active monthly users. Despite its success, ChatGPT was primarily seen as a fun and entertaining tool rather than a practical solution for valuable use cases. To utilize ChatGPT for more serious applications, additional tools like vector databases were required.
However, developers worldwide quickly realized the potential of creating new products built on top of ChatGPT that provided customized solutions to a broader audience. These products, known as ChatGPT Wrappers, abstracted the complexity of building solutions with ChatGPT and gained significant traction. Start-ups focusing on ChatGPT Wrappers began to emerge, with young developers earning millions of dollars from their ventures.
One notable example is Jasper, a ChatGPT-based product tailored for marketing teams. Jasper allows users to generate copyrighting material at scale, write blogs, optimize web pages for SEO, and more. Despite being a digital user interface with marketing-specific prompts on top of OpenAI's ChatGPT APIs, Jasper managed to raise $125 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion in October 2022. Unfortunately, this investment round turned out to be ill-timed as OpenAI's recent conference announcements are set to disrupt the ecosystem built around ChatGPT Wrappers.
OpenAI's new strategy focuses on simplifying the development of AI tools by integrating their solutions into higher abstraction layers. This move aligns with the concept of building a 'time machine,' a product or solution that significantly enhances people's lives by making tasks easier and more efficient. OpenAI aims to make Generative AI accessible to all users without requiring extensive technical knowledge. Their approach involves creating a new software-building paradigm where users can generate content or perform tasks by simply asking or clicking a few buttons.
With the introduction of the Assistant API alongside existing features such as the GPT Store and improved function calling, developers now have incredible opportunities to build innovative solutions. OpenAI is transforming AI from an imperative technology, where developers have full control over the building process, to a declarative one, where users can simply declare what they want and let the AI handle the rest. The new capabilities offered by OpenAI's platform, including the Assistant API and more advanced models like GPT-4 Turbo, are set to revolutionize the AI landscape.
However, this transformation also comes with consequences for start-ups built around ChatGPT Wrappers. OpenAI's carefully planned strategy makes it increasingly essential for developers to be part of their platform to survive in this evolving ecosystem. Many start-ups may face challenges or even closure as they struggle to align with OpenAI's rules and platform requirements.
The story of Jasper and other start-ups built on ChatGPT Wrappers may have been short-lived as OpenAI's advancements push developers towards their integrated platform. OpenAI's vision of a new computing platform is coming to fruition, where applications are built on top of ChatGPT but within the boundaries set by OpenAI. As this new era unfolds, it remains to be seen how the AI market will adapt and how start-ups will navigate this shifting landscape.