Some thoughts on OpenAI.


  • OpenAI was surprised by its success1
  • in fact, the hype train it created was so big, that it single-handedly re-ignited the hype of the whole AI industry
  • They reacted well and jumped on the train
    • Sam Altman took the chance and transformed OpenAI from a non-profit research lab into a full-blown product company
    • The transition was turbulent, shifting identity and goals
    • Ultimately, Sam Altman and his team succeeded, pushing out opposing parties
  • ChatGPT is now a well-known product
  • Consumers see it as a smart chatbot that boosts productivity
    • However, consumers don’t understand the technology behind it
    • To them, it’s a magical black box capable of creating images, writing code, answering questions, etc.
      • In reality, it’s many parts working together seamlessly
    • OpenAI intentionally obfuscates ChatGPT’s workings to:
      • Avoid giving competitors an advantage
      • Make ChatGPT seem like magic
        • This fuels fears about AGI
          • People worry about job security, the future, and AI dominance
        • i.e. it’s the best advertising they could wish for (see AGI)


  • OpenAI (and everyone else) is running out of training data for GPTs2
  • Still, I don’t think that training data is the biggest problem, as there will probably be other ways of optimizing and improving models
  • However, these improvements will take more time and effort than ‘just’ training a model with more data
  • I also doubt one could reach any form of strong AI, which would pose the threat of Singularity using the GPT approach
    • Training GPT models with human artifacts will approximate performance, not exceed it
  • don’t get me wrong, the current tech is indeed a major breakthrough
    • it single-handedly dropped the cost of (low-medium) intelligence
    • with that drop in cost, there will be major movements in the economy (and ones every day life)
    • I even built multiple projects myself using the OpenAI API myself, it’s great
    • however, its progress does not scale
      • they can’t just ‘train a new model longer, with more data’ to make it twice as smart forever
      • that’s their problem
  • Energy consumption and economic viability will also limit GPTs’ success
    • Currently, VC funding covers costs
    • Investors will eventually expect returns
    • OpenAI’s current pricing and free offerings won’t last forever3
    • When costs rise, excitement and expectations for GPTs will decrease


  • OpenAI does not have a master plan
  • It’s just a rapidly growing startup riding a wave of success from an experiment
  • Initially, they aimed to build AGI
    • This goal remains distant (see Limits)
  • Instead, they are currently riding the ChatGPT hype wave
    • They must maintain this momentum to avoid failure
      • They do this by:
        • Indirectly fearmongering about AGI
        • Obfuscating product workings to make them seem magical
        • Trying to monopolize popular AI terms to direct hype and energy towards them4
        • Generating revenue through investments and building successful products atop ChatGPT
  • Furthermore, the pressure created by the ChatGPT hype squashed their (public) timeline of achieving AGI
    • This is evident in Sam Altman’s interviews, pre- and post-ChatGPT
    • Pre-ChatGPT, interviews were informative and targeted at experts, with AGI being a distant goal
    • Post-ChatGPT, interviews feel like pop-science
      • The focus is on grand visions of an AGI-driven world
      • These ‘interviews’ are disguised advertisements
        • Targeting well-educated audiences
        • Assuming AGI (created by OpenAI) as an inevitable future
        • Portraying OpenAI as an open research lab on the brink of achieving AGI, inviting public participation through prototype testing
        • In reality, they are a for-profit company focused on product creation and revenue
        • They rely on the research lab image to function
  • Therefore, concerns about AGI or ethics are often just marketing
    • It’s similar to how Nike sells sportswear, making consumers feel like high-performance athletes through advertisements


  • OpenAI dislikes competition
  • As noted in ChatGPT, they aim to create a monopoly
    • They want ‘OpenAI’ to be synonymous with ‘AI’
  • They hinder smaller competitors by calling for AI regulations5
    • To make regulators move faster, they pull out their good old ‘AGI is coming’ trump card
    • These regulations would hurt OpenAI but devastate smaller competitors


  • OpenAI’s transformation has generated much noise
  • This drama feels like a reality show for Zoomers
  • It attracts media attention, creates discussions, and emotions
  • This isn’t necessarily bad for OpenAI, as they benefit from the attention (and attention is all you need after all ;) )
  • Important information remains inside the company through lifetime NDAs6



  1. OpenAI Cofounder Surprised by ChatGPT’s Massive Success (

  2. CB Insights on X

  3. OpenAI is too cheap to beat | Hacker News (

  4. OpenAI – Application for US trademark “GPT” has failed | Hacker News (

  5. OpenAI Lobbied the E.U. To Water Down AI Regulation | Hacker News (

  6. OpenAI departures: Why can’t former employees talk? | Hacker News (