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ChatGPT one year on: From viral AI bot to OpenAI’s boardroom battle

Reuters

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ChatGPT one year on: From viral AI bot to OpenAI’s boardroom battle

ALTMAN. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in San Francisco, California, US November 16, 2023

Carlos Barria/Reuters

Since its launch in November 30, 2022, ChatGPT has found itself in the center of discussions surrounding AI and its impact on the world

We asked ChatGPT, OpenAI’s viral chatbot, how it felt on its first birthday. This was its reply:

“Thank you for the birthday wishes! However, it’s important to note that as a computer program, I don’t have feelings or consciousness, so I don’t experience emotions like humans do.”

Still, its uncannily human-like responses have taken the world by storm in the past year. And while it has answered millions of user prompts, its growing influence has raised questions about the role of AI in society.

Its parent, OpenAI, was also jolted this month by a tumultuous boardroom battle that saw the sudden ouster and return of CEO Sam Altman.

ChatGPT became the fastest-growing software application in the world within six months of its launch. It also sparked the launch of rival chatbots from Microsoft, Alphabet and a bevy of startups that tapped the hype to secure billions in funding.

The generative AI craze has disrupted several industries from cloud computing and customer service to movie editing and screenplay writing.

Here are key figures:

ChatGPT dominates despite rise of competitors

ChatGPT’s competitors include Bard, Anthropic’s Claude, Character.AI and Microsoft’s CoPilot, which have seen a surge in users. ChatGPT, however, commands the lion’s share of the market.

According to numbers from SimilarWeb, ChatGPT raked in 140 million users in October 2023, with Bard at a far second at below 40 million, and Character.AI and Claude at below 20 million.

ChatGPT app downloads

Six months after ChatGPT’s website launch, OpenAI introduced the chatbot application to Apple’s iOS in May, and later on Android in July.

Downloads of the app on both platforms have steadily increased on both platforms, with OpenAI seeing revenue from in-app purchases, according to data analytics firm Apptopia.

Millions have downloaded the app every month since the iOS version was launched in May 2023, and the Android version in July 2023. September 2023 saw the Android app set its own record at more than 16 million downloads. The iOS app saw the most downloads in June 2023 at nearly 14 million.

Winners of the AI boom

Nvidia became the first and the only chip company to join the $1 trillion valuation club and is widely considered the biggest winner of the AI boom due to its position as the key supplier of the chips used to power ChatGPT and other generative AI applications.

With these applications running mostly on the cloud, vendors of cloud computing services, including Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, have also seen their shares surge.

Big Tech pours billions into AI

ChatGPT’s launch sparked massive investments from the top tech players.

Microsoft and Alphabet have invested billions to improve their cloud computing capabilities and take on more AI workloads as businesses embrace such tools.

Amazon and Google have consistently put in billions in data center spending since Q1 2022, while Microsoft has seen the biggest jump, putting in a little over $6 billion in Q1 2022 to $11.2 billion in Q3 2023.

Controversies

OpenAI and its backer Microsoft have been slapped with several lawsuits that have been brought by groups of copyright owners, including authors John Grisham, George R.R. Martin and Jonathan Franzen, over the alleged misuse of their work to train AI systems. The companies have denied the allegations. – Rappler.com

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