OpenAI Is the Undisputed King of AI. These Five Forces Could Take It Down Anyway
The ChatGPT maker is blooming but facing serious danger—from adversaries and allies alike
OpenAI is not the largest company in the AI game. It is neither the one publishing the most research. Although it is earning good money, it’s not the wealthiest, or most highly valued. And, despite ChatGPT’s popularity, it definitely isn’t the most well-known, standing against some of the most famous companies in history, like Google and Meta.
But whenever anyone mentions the words “generative AI” I can’t—and I bet neither can you, fellow insider—help but think of OpenAI. They are pretty much synonyms.
There’s a good reason for this. Although the architectural basis of AI’s current wave is Google’s transformer, it was OpenAI that successfully innovated beyond what was thought possible at the time with DALL-E on the visual front and the GPT family, which culminated with ChatGPT, on the language front.
It was OpenAI—not Google, not Meta, not DeepMind—that took the risk of turning generative AI from an abstract idea, barely alive in the imagination of those willing to dream, into the most impactful wave of consumer tech products and services since social media apps.
They surprised everyone—even themselves—by getting AI, through ChatGPT, into the cultural zeitgeist. OpenAI’s boldness granted them the right to the generative AI throne, despite many thought it was reserved for and deserved by Google.
It doesn’t matter who eventually wins the supposed race, or whether incumbents (a group the young startup is not part of) finally reveal that they were always winning: OpenAI is, right now, the face of the industry.
But grabbing all the attention can become an intractable challenge.
That’s the topic for my next series—not a prediction of OpenAI’s downfall, but an exploration of the reasons that could cause it, in case it were to happen.
The five forces I introduce below (and will expand on comprehensively in the next articles) are not some distant hypothetical hazards that could or could not happen—they are today, and for the first time, threatening OpenAI’s survival in one way or another:
A remarkable success
The weight of the law
An awakened giant
The power of the world
A misaligned ally
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