If you think GPT-4o is something, wait until you see GPT-5 – a 'significant leap forward'

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman attends the artificial intelligence Revolution Forum. New York, US - 13 Jan 2023
(Image credit: Shutterstock/photosince)

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman sketched out a tantalizing idea of what people might expect from the eagerly anticipated GPT-5 artificial intelligence model. He attempted to balance optimism and caution in his comments, but his vision of the new model's potential underlined his confidence that GPT-5 will represent a substantial improvement over its predecessor, GPT-4, and won't face unresolvable issues.

"I expect it to be a significant leap forward," Altman said. "A lot of the things that GPT-4 gets wrong, you know, can't do much in the way of reasoning, sometimes just sort of totally goes off the rails and makes a dumb mistake, like even a six-year-old would never make." 

Altman likened the current state of AI technology to the early days of the iPhone, suggesting that while today's models are useful, they are still in the nascent stages of their potential. He pointed out that current AI models, including GPT-5, are relatively small compared to what future advancements might bring.

Interestingly, Altman's recent comments about model size indicate a slight shift from his previous stance. For those who follow Altman's comments closely, that's a sharp turn from when he suggested that the era of giant models might be nearing its end last year. Instead, he now apparently thinks models will likely continue to grow, driven by significant investments in computing power and energy.

Altman is confident that GPT-5 will address many of the shortcomings of GPT-4, particularly in areas such as reasoning and error prevention. But, Altman also emphasized that while the development of GPT-5 is promising, there is still considerable work to be done. "We don't know yet. We are optimistic, but we still have a lot of work to do on it."

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The big picture for large language models

Altman did take on some of the biggest controversies around AI, particularly content licensing. He took the opportunity to brag about OpenAI's approach, which involves agreements with publishers to license news content for ChatGPT in exchange for training data for the models. He contrasted this approach with that of companies like Google, which claims that AI-driven traffic benefits publishers – a claim he and many others view with skepticism.

Altman also during the interview tempered expectations of what AI means for the internet and the broader economy. He simultaneously suggested there won't be a massive impact on internet use while also pushing for brand-new approaches to commerce. 

 "I think maybe AI is going to not super significantly but somewhat significantly change the way people use the internet," Altman said. "And if so, you can see some of the economic models of the past needing to evolve, and I think that's a broader conversation than just training data."

Altman suggested that GPT-5 is just the beginning of a series of advancements aimed at building more sophisticated and capable AI systems. The next few months will be critical in determining whether GPT-5 can deliver on its promise of a significant leap forward, addressing the limitations of its predecessors and paving the way for more advanced AI applications.

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Eric Hal Schwartz

Eric Hal Schwartz is a freelance writer for TechRadar with more than 15 years of experience covering the intersection of the world and technology. For the last five years, he served as head writer for Voicebot.ai and was on the leading edge of reporting on generative AI and large language models. He's since become an expert on the products of generative AI models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Anthropic’s Claude, Google Gemini, and every other synthetic media tool. His experience runs the gamut of media, including print, digital, broadcast, and live events. Now, he's continuing to tell the stories people want and need to hear about the rapidly evolving AI space and its impact on their lives. Eric is based in New York City.