The hits keep on coming at OpenAI. After dismissing CEO and Co-Founder Sam Altman, inviting him back, and reinstating him as CEO just a few days ago, the ChatGPT developer is apparently pulling back, at least temporarily, on its plans for a GPT Store.
Earlier this month during the first OpenAI Dev Day, Altman introduced the concept of "GPTs", basically custom versions of the ChatGPT generative AI model. These bespoke versions would use custom data and therefore do what you wanted them to do. They'd be less generally smart, like the current ChatGPT that turned 1 this week, and much more specifically smart to your needs. Perhaps the most exciting part of this announcement was that you'd be able to post and buy these custom GPTs in an online GPT Store.
Now, Axios is reporting based on a developer memo it obtained that OpenAI is pressing pause on the GPT Store launch at least until early 2024. In the memo, according to the report, OpenAI wrote, "While we had expected to release it this month, a few unexpected things have been keeping us busy!“
That comment, if real, might be a nod toward the tumult that consumed OpenAI over the last two weeks.
A new beginning
Of course, all that is in the past now. On November 29, Altman posted a message on the company blog praising his team and even holding out an olive branch to former board member and computer scientist Ilya Sutskever who may have promoted the fire drill that prompted Altman's removal.
"I love and respect Ilya, I think he's a guiding light of the field and a gem of a human being. I harbor zero ill will towards him," wrote Altman on Wednesday.
Perhaps notably, Altman made no mention of "GPTs" or the GPT store in his post. Instead, he focused significant attention on AI safety, writing the company has three immediate priorities and listing this as the first: "Advancing our research plan and further investing in our full-stack safety efforts, which have always been critical to our work."
There's no indication in the reported memo that OpenAI is pausing GPTs work or really any part of its march toward Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), of which Altman writes, "One of the most important things for the team that builds AGI safely is the ability to handle stressful and uncertain situations, and maintain good judgment throughout."
Assuming this pause memo is real, the delay to early 2024 is just a matter of a few months. Knowing OpenAI and the rapid development pace of ChatGPT and the large language model (LLM) powering it, the delay could shrink to weeks.
All told, it's back to AI business for OpenAI.
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.