History of OpenAI

By Aamna Babar | 04 April 2023

Early days of AI

Alan Turing’s paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” in 1950 laid the foundation for modern computer science. Later, John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence” in 1956. With gradual scientific progress, the early 2000s brought interesting developments like the introduction of big data, more refined algorithms, and increasing computing power. With the rise of technology at the turn of the 21st century, tech giants emerged in the digital realm that used AI related principles to pioneer new technologies. One major player at the forefront of this new digital revolution is OpenAI. .

Placing OpenAI in the Picture

In 2015, former Y Combinator CEO Sam Altman and business magnate Elon Musk spearheaded an initiative for safe AI development and named it OpenAI. OpenAI is an American artificial intelligence research laboratory with the declared intention of promoting and developing a friendly AI. It is currently headquartered in San Francisco, United States. It is currently valued at US$29 billion.

6 Rounds of Funding for OpenAI

Since 2015, OpenAI has raised a total of $12 billion in 6 rounds of funding. Its latest funding, in March 2023, came from Microsoft that pledged to invest $10 billion in OpenAI. By far, it is the largest grant amount given to OpenAI. This sets the company to have advanced research and innovation to transform human lives.


OpenAI’s first product Launch-OpenAI Gym and Universe

In 2016, it released its first tools, an open-source toolkit for reinforcement learning (RI) OpenAI Gym and Universe which was essentially a test-bed for training AI agents. This was important as it officially started OpenAI’s journey to become one of the renowned AI product and research companies.

Partnership with Google

In 2016, OpenAI announced a collaboration with Google’s DeepMind to develop open-source software tools for artificial intelligence research. The project, called “TensorFlow”, aimed to provide a common platform for researchers to work on deep learning algorithms. This partnership gave OpenAI a huge boost in terms of its visibility and outreach to Google’s huge user base.


Collaboration with Amazon

OpenAI announced that it had entered into a multi-year partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2018. OpenAI used their cloud computing services to help train and run its machine learning models like ChatGPT and DALL-E. In exchange, AWS would get an exclusive license to market and sell OpenAI’s technologies to businesses as part of its cloud computing services.

Introduction of Dactyl-OpenAI Tool

OpenAI developed Dactyl in 2018 that uses machine learning to train a shadow-hand, a human-like robot hand, to manipulate physical objects. It learns entirely through simulation using the reinforcement learning algorithm and training code. Dactyl has motion tracking and RGB cameras that manipulate arbitrary objects. The introduction of this tool took OpenAI closer to its goal of introducing products that were human-like.


Partnership with Bain & Company

In 2019, OpenAI announced a partnership with Bain & Company. The collaboration aimed to help organizations understand the potential impact of AI on their business and identify opportunities to drive growth and innovation through technology. The resulting framework provided a structured approach to identifying AI use cases, assessing feasibility and business impact, and implementing AI solutions.


Introducing DALL-E 2 to the World

DALL-E 2 is a deep learning model that generates digital images from natural language descriptions, called “prompts”. The program works by taking a textual input and translating it into a visual image that has been trained on a vast dataset of images. This had a huge impact on the digital arts industry as it could produce art with discrete prompts that were beyond human imagination.

Launch of OpenAI Startup Fund

The OpenAI Startup Fund was launched by OpenAI in 2021. The program is designed to help startups develop cutting-edge AI technologies and bring them to market. They particularly focus on startups that are aligned with OpenAI’s mission of advancing artificial intelligence in a safe manner. It provides funding ranging from $1 million to $10 million, as well as access to its state-of-the-art AI models, research tools, and mentorship.


Launch of ChatGPT

GPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot powered by a natural language processing (NLP) application that generates human-like text answers. Over the years, OpenAI has developed several GPT models. The latest version, GPT-4 or ChatGPT, was launched on March 14, 2023. It is capable of accepting text and images, and is proficient in writing codes in major programming softwares. Recently, ChatGPT passed law exams in four courses at the University of Minnesota. ChatGPT, has the potential to transform learning, data analytics, and business beyond the traditional ways.


Given the pace of the technological advancements of OpenAI recently, the future of the company seems bright. It is set to bring changes in human lives that have never been imagined before. ChatGPT continues to be integrated into other applications. Microsoft reportedly made a multibillion-dollar investment in ChatGPT to integrate ChatGPT natural language prompts directly into Office apps. Not only this, but also, according to reports GPT-5 is on the way and could finish training later this year-bringing a major AI revolution in the world.