What is OpenAI?

There’s been an incredible amount of buzz about ChatGPT and how this large language model (LLM) chatbot generates human-like dialogue from simple user prompts. But how much do you know about OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT? 

As a future data scientist, it’s critical to understand the technologies you’ll use in your career and the companies that create them. This glossary entry will provide some context to one of the most important developments in data science in recent years. Get an answer to the question, “What is OpenAI?” below!

OpenAI Meaning

OpenAI is the company that created ChatGPT. It describes itself as an “AI research and deployment company” with a mission to ensure that “artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.” Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and others founded OpenAI in 2015. Its current headquarters are in San Francisco.  

OpenAI started as a non-profit organization and developed AI for video games and other applications. It released its first tool, OpenAI Gym and Universe, an open-source reinforcement learning toolkit, in 2016. In the years that followed, OpenAI focused on AI research and development.

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OpenAI and the Evolution of ChatGPT

In 2018, OpenAI experimented with a concept called Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPTs), neural networks that could answer questions by analyzing large datasets of text. Soon after, the large language model GPT-1 was born—a precursor to ChatGPT. By analyzing text from BookCorpus, a collection of thousands of unpublished novels, GPT-1 could generate human-like responses to basic user prompts. 

GPT-1 evolved into GPT-2, which was able to analyze text from 8 million web pages. Then, GPT-3 came along in early 2022—capable of analyzing even more text. ChatGPT, now used by millions of people around the world, is a large language model chatbot built on GPT-3. 

Aside from ChatGPT and its previous iterations, the company has also created an AI image generator called DALL E

Pros of OpenAI

Here are some advantages of OpenAI’s ChatGPT for data scientists:

  • OpenAI’s ChatGPT can help you analyze text data for data science projects. For example, the LLM chatbot can analyze sentiment in social media posts and determine whether the text is positive or negative. 
  • ChatGPT can also help you debug code in different programming languages. For example, the program can identify bugs in a string of SQL code. 
  • ChatGPT can also carry out (basic) predictive analytics by forecasting outcomes from a data set. For example, the program can make financial predictions if you enter sales figures from the previous six months. 


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Cons of OpenAI

Here are a few disadvantages of OpenAI’s ChatGPT for data scientists:

  • ChatGPT can make inaccurate predictions if its algorithms are biased or the data you enter into the platform is biased. That can make it difficult to identify patterns and trends in data. Biased data also raises ethical concerns. 
  • ChatGPT-4 has a knowledge cut-off date of September 2021, meaning its training data only contains information up until that period. That can also lead to inaccurate predictions.
  • ChatGPT can make mistakes and sometimes “hallucinates” or provides information that appears logical but is incorrect.

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