OpenAI Shifts from AGI Talk to ChatGPT API Release, Developers Cheer

Just three months after launching tech-generating superstar ChatGPT, and just a few days after publishing a blog post about its Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) “plans,” OpenAI released its ChatGPT and Whisper APIs yesterday. The APIs make it easier to integrate ChatGPT into various applications.

According to the blog post, the APIs give developers “access to cutting-edge language (not just chat!) and speech-to-text capabilities.” Additionally, thanks to “system-wide optimizations,” OpenAI said it achieved a 90% cost reduction for ChatGPT since December and is now passing those savings on to API users.

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Thousands of developers probably immediately scrapped weekend plans to start building.

“We’re diving in as soon as possible,” said Nate Sanders, co-founder of qualitative data insights platform Artifact IO, which has already fully integrated GPT-3 into its platform. “We have several features that utilize question-answer, summarization and questioning techniques. We will experiment with how linked context and window-based tasks can increase the accuracy of the tasks we perform.”

Pricing is the “biggest headline”

The ChatGPT API is priced at $0.002 per 1k tokens, which OpenAI says is 10 times cheaper than existing GPT-3.5 models.

“From our perspective, pricing is the biggest headline,” said Max Shaw, SVP of product at Yext, which offers digital experience software solutions. “Developers can now actively explore use cases that would previously have been prohibitive.”

The drop-in cost of running ChatGPT is “impressive,” Gartner analyst Rowan Curran told VentureBeat via email — likely the result of a “combination of improvements to the infrastructure that runs the model itself and the application software.”

OpenAI offers a clear format and framework for building on top of APIs

An interesting aspect of the announcement, Curran added, is the release of the Chat Markup Language, OpenAI’s format for developers to communicate with the ChatGPT API.

“This gives developers working with OpenAI a very clear format and framework to build on top of these APIs,” he explained. “It is also a good first step in creating best practices around model requests to enable greater security for applications using LLM (large language model) requests and responses. They have indicated that they will work more on developing the markup language and making the model more ‘manageable’ with it – so this will hopefully be a successful attempt to lay the foundations for a standardized format for interacting with these models.”

OpenAI offers opt-in for data sharing

Another talked about aspect of the announcement is the fact that data sharing is opt-in, rather than opt-out.

“The default assumption is that companies keep the data sent to their APIs and can use it for whatever they want, including improving their models,” said Mark Riedl, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing and associate director of the Georgia Tech Machine Learning Center. “AI researchers and companies need all the data they can get, and this leaves readily available data on the table.”

But strategically, OpenAI needs companies to adopt its technology before competitors come out, he explained. “Third-party companies that launch services built on ChatGPT can chat about proprietary things,” he said. For example, JP Morgan prohibits workers from using ChatGPT because they might talk about clients or investments. “They don’t want OpenAI to use it, sell it or train it for future versions of the technology. This could give confidence to more companies to build on top of the technology,” he explained.

Shopify offers one of the first ChatGPT API use cases

One company that already has the ChatGPT API up and running is the e-commerce platform Shopify. Yesterday, that announced an AI-powered search function for the Shop app, leveraging OpenAI’s ChatGPT API.

Shopify’s consumer shopping app has always been critical to solving one of the company’s biggest challenges for its more than 1.75 million sellers — bringing in customers. Improving in-app search was a key opportunity in the work as part of the ChatGPT API beta, Miqdad Jaffer, director of product leadership for Shopify’s AI initiatives, told VentureBeat.

“It gave us the opportunity to look at chat as a way to do search in a completely different way,” he said. “We didn’t want to waste time, we wanted to get something out there as quickly as we could.”

The result is that Shop’s 100 million users now have an AI-powered personal shopper who can chat about everything from gift recommendations to style advice and home decor ideas. Users can tap a purple icon in the search field at the top of the home tab and start chatting by asking a specific question or using one of the existing prompts.

However, there were some necessary adjustments. “What was really challenging was that you have a corpus of 175 billion plus parameters in the ChatGPT API, and then you have an API that it’s going to reference through – so it’s not necessarily going to know the best way to communicate directly with that,” he explained. “It’s always going to truncate some of the search parameters to what it thinks is appropriate, so you have to play with the question a little bit to get it to give you a little more information, and then have more to dial into the search that’s going to result in meaningful, meaningful results that come back to the buyer.”

Cala was an early user of the DALL-E API, and now plans to tap the ChatGPT API

Meanwhile, New York City-based Cala, a startup that bills itself as “the world’s first operating system for fashion,” showcased an early DALL-E API use case back in October. Now the company says it is helping to implement ChatGPT and Whisper APIs as well.

“I’ve recorded all my Zoom calls for the past four years, so I plan to use the Whisper API to transcribe and then train via the chatGPT API,” said Andrew Wyatt, co-founder of Cala. “This will enable me to talk to myself to work through difficult issues, outline decks, draft tweets or blog posts with very detailed past context specific to me and Cala.”

Wyatt added that he wouldn’t be surprised if help articles and FAQs disappear forever, replaced by some sort of chatbot. “I’ve even thought about scrapping our landing page and just having a ‘Welcome to Cala, how can we help?'” with a text entry, he said.

What happens now?

Besides the ChatGPT API hackathons already being planned in San Francisco this weekend, one thing is certain, at least according to Wyatt. “Every Fortune 500 company board member is asking management about their AI strategy, so I’m sure we’ll see the ChatGPT API implemented everywhere,” he said.

Of course, the well-known challenges of ChatGPT—particularly its tendency to hallucinate—have not gone away. And while the Shop app is primarily about implementing the ChatGPT API on the search side, when it comes to requests, “they can be hacked the same way people are supposed to,” said Shopify’s Jaffer, who said users can have a conversation with the fine of planning a party, for example.

“We’ve tried to put limits on the search results that will come back, but the fine is the fine,” he said.

In the meantime, the developers are scrambling a bit to get started.

“I’m excited to see where this goes and how the role of the developer will evolve,” said Hadi Chami, developer advocate and manager at Leadtools. “Low-code apps are setting the stage for citizen developers and AI will help push a whole new set of capabilities from customer service, coding and anticipating software updates.”

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