Sam Altman hints at the future of AI and GPT-5 - and big things are coming

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

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has revealed what the future might hold for ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot that's taken the world by storm, in a wide-ranging interview. While speaking to Lex Friedman, an MIT artificial intelligence researcher and podcaster, Altman talks about plans for GPT-4 and GPT-5, as well as his very temporary ousting as CEO, and Elon Musk’s ongoing lawsuit.

Now, I say GPT-5, but that’s currently its unofficial name used to refer to it, as it’s still being developed and even Altman himself alludes to not conclusively knowing what it’ll end up being named. He does give this somewhat cryptic quote about the nature of OpenAI’s upcoming release: 

“... what’s the one big unlock? Is it a bigger computer? Is it a new secret? Is it something else? It’s all of these things together.”

He then follows that by stating that he and his colleagues think that what OpenAI does really well is “multiply 200 medium-sized things together into one giant thing.” He specifically confirms to Friedman that this applies “Especially on the technical side.” When Altman and Friedman talk about the leap from GPT-4 to GPT-5, Altman does say he’s excited to see the next GPT iteration “be smarter.” 

What's on the horizon for OpenAI

Man holding a phone which is displaying ChatGPT is, prototype artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI

(Image credit: Shutterstock/R Photography Background)

Friedman asks Altman directly to “blink twice” if we can expect GPT-5 this year, which Altman refused to do. Instead, he explained that OpenAI will be releasing other important things first, specifically the new model (currently unnamed) that Altman spoke about so poetically. This piqued my interest, and I wonder if they’re related to anything we’ve seen (and tried) so far, or something new altogether. I would recommend watching the entire interview as it’s an interesting glimpse into the mind of one of the people leading the charge and shaping what the next generation of technology, specifically ChatGPT, will look like. 

Overall, we can’t conclude much, and this interview suggests that what OpenAI is working on is pretty important and kept tightly under wraps - and that Altman likes speaking in riddles. That’s somewhat amusing, but I think people would like to know how large the advancement in AI we’re about to see is. I think Altman does have some awareness of people’s anxieties about the fact that we are very much in an era of a widespread AI revolution, and he does at least recognise that society needs time to adapt and process the introduction of a technological force like AI. 

He seems like he’s aware on some level of the potential that AI and the very concept of artificial general intelligence (AGI) will probably overhaul almost every aspect of our lives and the world, and that gives me some reassurance. Altman and OpenAI want our attention and right now, they’ve got it - and it sounds like they’re cooking up something very special to keep it. 


Computing Writer

Kristina is a UK-based Computing Writer, and is interested in all things computing, software, tech, mathematics and science. Previously, she has written articles about popular culture, economics, and miscellaneous other topics.

She has a personal interest in the history of mathematics, science, and technology; in particular, she closely follows AI and philosophically-motivated discussions.