'GPT-4 is the dumbest model any of you will ever have to use' declares OpenAI CEO Sam Altman as he bets big on a superingtelligence

Sam Altman is leaving OpenAI for Microsoft
(Image credit: Getty)

OpenAI's co-founder and CEO Sam Altman says ChatGPT is the dumbest it will ever get, promising major investment in the future of AI.

Altman held a lengthy Q&A seminar at Stanford University this week and among discussions about the future of generative AI and chatbots, he was asked by host Ravi Belani, a Stanford lecturer, about the reported operating costs of GPT-3 and how they've increased for GPT-4.

While Altman stops short of confirming the actual costs of building the model and running it, he was pressed on whether AI will continue to get more expensive and how sustainable that is over time.

The CEO says its about providing capable tools and letting people work out what to do with them. Suggesting he isn't particularly financially minded. This might explain why he was removed from the OpenAI Startup fund, the venture capital arm of the company.

It's about the product

Belani poses the question "Does the cost keep growing with each subsequent [version], and does it keep growing multiplicatively? How do you capitalize on that?

"I think giving people really capable tools and letting them figure out how they're going to use this to build the future is a super good thing to do, and is super valuable, and I am super willing to bet on the ingenuity of you all and everybody else in the world to figure out what to do about this," Altman explained.

GPT-4 is the dumbest model any of you will ever have to use again by a lot.

Sam Altman

"There is probably some more business-minded person than me at OpenAI somewhere that is worried about how much we're spending, but I kind of don't," he jokes. He even admitted that the money is going on a not great product.

When pressed on burning "$520 million of cash last year" for running the "phenomenal ChatGPT", Altman describes the company's LLM as "mildly embarrassing at best".

"GPT-4 is the dumbest model any of you will ever have to use again by a lot," Altman says. "It's important to ship early and often and we believe in iterative deployment. If we go build AGI in a basement and then the world is kind of blissfully walking blindfolded along, I don't think that makes us very good neighbours," Altman adds, suggesting society "co-evolve" with the technology.

What next for ChatGPT?

Later in the discussion, Altman suggests he can "say right now with a high degree of scientific certainty that GPT 5 is going to be a lot smarter than GPT 4", and that GPT 6 will do the same, noting that this is the nature of AI development.

Still, we may not have to wait that long for a big new development from the company, with reports suggesting OpenAI will reveal a rival to Google's search engine, potentially as early as next week.

As several posters on X have noted, this ties it in closely with both Google's IO event on May 14, and the reveal of Apple's new iPad lineup on May 7 -  with reports suggesting Apple's tablets could be due to receive an AI focus along with the new M4 chip.

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