What exactly is Open AI?

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence (AI) research facility made up of two companies: the for-profit OpenAI LP and the non-profit OpenAI Inc.

OpenAI was formed In October 2015, Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and other investors pledged over US $1 billion to the venture. The initial idea was that OpenAI was going to be a free and open-source platform that stated they would “freely collaborate” with other institutions and researchers by making its patents and research open to the public.

What is the state of OpenAI now?

There have been several changes in the recent past, with the company doing things that would be considered to go against their original mission. OpenAI changed its status from non-profit to for-profit in 2019. The company gave its employees stock and teamed with Microsoft Corporation, which announced a $1 billion investment package in the company. After that, OpenAI revealed its plan to license its technologies commercially, with Microsoft as its preferred partner.

This has left people critiquing, even to date, the motives of the giant tech companies who identify the opensource projects and communities only to find a way of monetizing such and gain profits in the long run.

The state in which the company operates now has made a lot of people question its legitimacy and motives. Even though the company still holds its mission as “ … to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI)—by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity. …”, people still have lots of questions and concerns.

What does Open AI do?

The company focuses on AI-related products, especially reinforcement learning, and has released several AI-related tools.

OpenAI Gym – It is a platform for reinforcement learning research.

Universe – a software platform for assessing and training an AI’s general intelligence across the vast array of games, websites, and other applications available throughout the world

Generative models, like The GPT-3 – GPT-3 is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning, has been trained on trillions of words found on the internet, to produce human-like text. From what the company says it can do, the model is actually capable of some amazing things. There is also a related API, simply referred to as the API which will be at the heart of its first commercial product. GPT-3 is designed to answer queries in natural language, but it can also translate between languages and make meaningful improvised text.

Codex – GPT-3’s descendent, OpenAI Codex, has also been trained on code from 54 million GitHub repositories. It was unveiled in mid-2021 as the AI behind GitHub Copilot, a code autocompletion tool. (I have been using this for a while now, and there are a million things to say, subscribe to be notified once I publish the article 😉). An API was introduced in private beta in August 2021. According to OpenAI, the model can generate working code in more than a dozen programming languages, with Python being the most effective. However, there have been several reports of bugs, design faults, and security vulnerabilities, to the extent that some claim that 40% of the code is unsafe!

OpenAI Five – The OpenAI Five are a group of five OpenAI-curated bots that compete in the competitive five-on-five video game Dota 2. They learn to play against human players at a high level completely through trial-and-error algorithms.

GYM Retro – Gym Retro is a game-based research tool for reinforcement learning. Gym Retro is used to explore generalization and undertake research on RL algorithms. Prior RL research has primarily focused on optimizing agents to solve certain tasks. Gym Retro allows you to compare and contrast games with similar themes but different aesthetics.

OpenAI criticism and Concerns

With AI comes controversies and criticism, and OpenAI is no exception. The most common critique when it comes to AI work usually is a concern that an irreversible “intelligence explosion” could lead to human extinction if advanced AI obtains the power to re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. AI-redesigning is one thing that is at the core of OpenAI. AI, according to Musk, is humanity’s “greatest existential threat.”

Musk and Altman have claimed that they are driven in part by fears of artificial general intelligence posing an existential threat. “It’s difficult to envision how much human-level AI may benefit civilization,” according to OpenAI, “just as it’s difficult to fathom how much it could harm society if developed or utilized wrong.”

OpenAI was founded as a non-profit so that its research may be focused on making a beneficial long-term human benefit, which made people like Vishal Sikka, former CEO of Infosys, pledge his support.

But then, came the commercialization in 2019, when the company became a for-profit company called OpenAI LP. This was stated as a move for the company to secure additional funding while staying controlled by a non-profit called OpenAI Inc in a structure that OpenAI calls “capped-profit”. But how sure are we that their original principle for openness and human safety is still a priority?

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In the meantime, here are some popular questions people are asking:

Is OpenAI owned by Microsoft?

Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019 and became the company’s exclusive cloud provider (a vital relationship in the compute-intensive world of AI research). Microsoft then purchased an exclusive license to directly incorporate GPT-3 into its own products in September 2020.

Can I use OpenAI for free?

OpenAI Codex will be available for free for a limited time. OpenAI will continue to expand on the safety foundation we created with GPT-3, assessing and slowly scaling up applications while collaborating closely with developers to understand the impact of our technologies in the real world.

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