OpenAI’s ChatGPT

A Look at the Fascinating History and Products of the AI Leader

Jimmy Whitaker
7 min readJan 4, 2023
Image by author and DALL-E.

ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot, is the latest in a series of cutting-edge AI products developed by OpenAI. It has captured the attention of millions of users in the span of a few weeks, since its release on November 30, 2022. In this post, we’ll explore the origins, history and achievements of OpenAI, a company with a long and fascinating history, delve into the technology behind ChatGPT and other products like GPT-3 and DALL-E 2, and discuss the potential implications and risks of this rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence.

A Brief History of OpenAI

OpenAI was founded in 2015 with the goal of developing artificial intelligence (AI) for the benefit of humanity. The company was co-founded by Elon Musk and other prominent Silicon Valley figures, including Peter Thiel, and was initially funded with a pledge of $1 billion from its founders. OpenAI’s mission was to “freely share” its research and technology with other organizations and to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) “benefits all of humanity.”

Figure 1: OpenAI logo.

In its first year, OpenAI released two products: Gym, a platform for developing and comparing reinforcement learning systems, and Universe, a toolkit for training intelligent agents across websites and gaming platforms.

In 2018, Musk resigned from OpenAI’s board of directors in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest with Tesla’s self-driving car research. OpenAI entered into a partnership with Microsoft the following year, securing $1 billion in funding in exchange for making Azure the company’s primary cloud services provider. As part of the deal, OpenAI also launched OpenAI LP as a for-profit subsidiary company focused on generating revenue from its technology. Despite the creation of OpenAI LP, the parent company remains a non-profit and has implemented a “capped” for-profit structure to ensure that no one group or individual can control a future AGI. Employees of OpenAI were also given equity in OpenAI LP.

OpenAI’s Impressive Products and Achievements

Since its founding in 2015, OpenAI has released a number of impressive products and made significant achievements in the field of artificial intelligence.

One of the company’s first releases was Gym, a platform that allows researchers to develop and compare reinforcement learning systems. These systems teach AI to come to decisions with the best cumulative rewards.

Figure 2: Images of some environments that are currently part of OpenAI Gym. Image appeared in the original OpenAI Gym paper.

Later in 2016, OpenAI released Universe. Universe, ​​built on top of OpenAI’s Gym platform, allows users to train agents on a wide range of tasks, including playing games, using websites, and interacting with software applications. These systems teach AI to make decisions based on the best cumulative rewards. By combining Universe and Gym, OpenAI has created a powerful platform for training and evaluating intelligent agents, and since its release, Universe has been widely used by researchers and developers to train and test AI agents for a variety of applications.

More recently, the company has also released a number of highly advanced and influential AI systems. DALL-E 2 is an AI system that can turn text descriptions into realistic images. For example, if you describe a “cartoon beach scene with a large purple elephant holding a surfboard,” DALL-E 2 can generate an image of exactly that.

Figure 3: Image generated from DALL-E 2 with the prompt “cartoon beach scene with a large purple elephant holding a surfboard.”

GPT-3, another recent release, is an AI system that can generate human-level text and has a staggering 1.75 billion parameters. This makes it one of the largest and most powerful language models ever created. GPT-3 has a wide range of applications, including language translation, content generation, and more. Musenet is another recent release from OpenAI that has the ability to generate original songs by learning and adapting to various musical styles.


But perhaps the most buzzworthy of OpenAI’s achievements is ChatGPT, the viral AI chatbot that has garnered over one million users in just five days.

ChatGPT is powered by a machine learning model called GPT-3 (specifically the GPT-3.5 series), which stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3.” GPT-3 is a type of natural language processing (NLP) model that has been trained on a massive dataset of human-generated text. ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response. Though the specific relationship between GPT-3, InstructGPT, and ChatGPT is not clear, the training allows ChatGPT to generate responses to user input that are human-like in their language and structure.

To use ChatGPT, users simply type in a message or prompt and the chatbot responds with a generated response. The chatbot is able to hold casual conversations, write essays, and even code, depending on the prompt given to it. Its impressive capabilities have many experts speculating that it could potentially revolutionize internet search engines.

Figure 4: Example output from ChatGPT, showing its ability to generate a response for a question with code samples and explanations.

The GPT model has undergone several iterations, with the latest being GPT-3, which has 1.75 billion parameters and can generate human-like text. Rumors have been circulating about the upcoming release of GPT-4 in 2023, which is expected to have even more impressive capabilities.

Overall, OpenAI’s products and achievements in the field of artificial intelligence have been impressive and influential, further solidified OpenAI’s reputation as a leader in the AI industry.

Ethics and concerns surrounding AI and ChatGPT

As with any new technology, there are always ethical considerations and potential concerns to be addressed. In the case of ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (AI) in general, some of the main issues include misinformation, bias, control and ownership, privacy, and job displacement.

Figure 5: Illustration of how AI models cannot currently fact check themselves. DALL-E response for the prompt: “Create an image of a robot holding a sign that says ‘No bias allowed’ to illustrate the ethical concern of AI systems reflecting and perpetuating biases present in their training data.” Prompt generated by ChatGPT.

Misinformation: One of the main ethical concerns with ChatGPT and AI in general is the potential for spreading misinformation. It’s important to remember that AI systems can only provide information based on the data they have been trained on, and they do not always have the same critical thinking and fact-checking abilities as humans. It’s crucial to approach AI-generated content with a healthy level of skepticism and to verify any information with multiple sources.

Bias: Another ethical concern is the possibility of AI systems reflecting and perpetuating biases present in their training data. It’s important to ensure that the data used to train AI systems is diverse and representative, and to carefully consider the potential consequences of any biases present in the data.

Control and Ownership: There are also concerns about who will control and benefit from the use of AI. OpenAI has implemented a “capped” for-profit structure to ensure that no one group or individual can have too much control over future AGI, and the company has committed to its mission of benefiting humanity through AI development. However, it’s important to continue to closely monitor the ethical implications of AI development and ensure that its benefits are shared fairly.

Privacy: The use of AI also raises privacy concerns, particularly with regards to the collection and use of personal data. It’s important to ensure that personal data is collected and used ethically and transparently, and to give individuals control over their own data.

Job Displacement: Another concern is the potential for AI to displace human jobs, particularly in industries that are heavily reliant on repetitive tasks. It’s important to consider the potential impact on workers and to ensure that adequate support and retraining opportunities are available for those who may be affected.

Overall, it’s important to carefully consider the ethical implications of AI and ChatGPT as the technology continues to advance. While it has the potential to bring numerous benefits, it’s crucial to address any potential risks and ensure that its development is responsible and benefits all of humanity.


ChatGPT and OpenAI’s other products have made significant strides in the field of artificial intelligence, with the potential to revolutionize internet search engines and other industries. However, as with any new technology, it’s important to carefully consider the ethical implications and potential risks involved. Misinformation, bias, control and ownership, privacy, and job displacement are all important considerations that need to be addressed as we continue to advance in the field of AI. OpenAI has demonstrated a commitment to its mission of benefiting humanity through AI development, and it’s crucial that we continue to closely monitor the ethical implications of AI and ensure that its benefits are shared fairly.

Post written by JIMMY WHITAKER and CHATGPT as part of a future research effort.



Jimmy Whitaker

Applying AI the right way | Chief Scientist — AI & Strategy @HPE | Computer Science @UniOfOxford | Published @SpringerCompSci