Who is Sam Altman, the man behind ChatGPT?

Posted Jan 18, 2023, 1:00 PM

Born in Chicago in 1985, he joined the prestigious Stanford University in San Francisco, which he left in 2005 without completing his university course. The same year, he co-founded Loopt, a mobile application that allows you to transmit your geolocation. At its peak, the app had 5 million users.

He sold it in 2011 and then joined one of the most popular start-up incubators in Silicon Valley, “Y Combinator”. Among the start-ups that have been pushed and financed by Y Combinator, we can mention Airbnb, Reddit, Twitch or Dropbox. Three years after joining the incubator, Sam takes over as president until 2020.

A virtuous and humanistic artificial intelligence project

In parallel, in 2015 he co-founded with Elon Musk (boss of Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter) and other investors, OpenAI, a non-profit company to develop artificial intelligence “which will benefit all mankind”. In order to attract financing, the structure eventually becomes a for-profit but capped company. In other words, for 1 dollar invested, the investor cannot recover more than 100 dollars.

The OpenAI company created in 2021 Dall.E, an artificial intelligence capable of generating an image based on a user’s description. But what especially propels OpenAI into the limelight is the November 2022 launch of its ChatGPT chatbot. A robot capable of generating text on demand using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, scenarios, lyrics, stories, presentations, etc.

Initiator of an artificial intelligence project that he wants to serve the greatest number, Sam Altman nevertheless underlines during TechCrunch 2017 the need to be careful about artificial intelligence, whether it is about the biases of algorithms machine learning, autonomous weapons or even the misinformation they can generate.

ChatGPT still needs to improve

Beyond its impressive editorial skills, if ChatGPT is of interest in the small world of Silicon Valley, it is because it could be the future of search engines by responding directly and precisely to any request rather than display a list of results. Moreover, ChatGPT could become an intelligent assistant for all trades », believes Eric Biernat, director of artificial intelligence at the firm Octo (Accenture group) interviewed by the Journal du net. One can imagine that he writes minutes of meetings, that he writes the MCQs of a teacher or that he assists lyricists.

According to its creator, this is just the beginning for ChatGPT. It will improve profoundly, be less boring and more useful very quickly. »

Objective: a turnover of 200 million dollars

After an initial investment of $1 billion in 2019, Microsoft would be interested in reinvesting in OpenAI for an additional $10 billion, according to the Semafor news site. Today unprofitable, the company is valued at 29 billion dollars and hopes for a turnover of 200 million dollars in 2023. An amount expected to quintuple in 2024.

Very attractive financial prospects but which we will have to achieve. “We are going to have to monetize [ChatGPT, NDLR] at some point, computer calculation costs us an arm and a leg», had dropped Sam Altman in early December on Twitter. Note that with a fortune estimated between 200 and 250 million dollars by the American media, Sam Altman has time to see it coming.

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