OpenAI - Artificial Intelligence Comes Into The Light

OpenAI - Artificial Intelligence Comes Into The Light

OpenAI. Source: (Creative Commons license).

OpenAI was founded by Elon Musk and five others in 2015. It has headquarters in San Francisco, US. The CEO is Sam Altman, one of the co-founders.

The aim of OpenAI is to make the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) accessible to all by promoting and developing the technology in a friendly way. The root of the company can be traced to the fear of Musk about AI, which he believes could get to the point where it is powerful enough to become unstoppable even by its creators and eventually cause human extinction.

The root of the company can be traced to the fear of Musk about AI

While starting off with a pledge of one billion dollars in total funding from its contributors, OpenAI has received funding from external sources.

OpenAI operates as a research laboratory that is for-profit oriented but has a non-profit parent company known as OpenAI, Inc. The research laboratory had to become for-profit to be able to receive additional funding but is run under a structure that caps its profits.

Elon Musk is no longer on the seat of board of directors, after resigning due to potential conflict of interest, due to the work of his other company, Tesla, in the field of autonomous driving. However, he remains a donor.

Part of the equity of the for-profit laboratory is owned by the employees. 

Products and Other Outputs

Many of OpenAI outputs are applications to further the training of machines or AI. Notable ones include:

Debate Game

OpenAI released the Debate Game in 2018, an application that trains machines to debate toy problems. The goal of the game is to research how best to approach auditing AI decisions.


This is another machine learning application intended for training robots.

MuseNet and Jukebox

MuseNet uses a deep neural net to predict musical notes in MIDI music files. It can generate totally new songs in fifteen different styles.

Jukebox on the other hand uses an open-source algorithm to make music with vocals. Using samples it has been trained with, Jukebox can create an entirely new song from an artists' previous works. Songs created with Jukebox have been described as impressive, catchy and sounding legitimate.

OpenAI has released products that have been used to make video game bots. 

Notable Investors

Apart from the initial fund pledges by the co-founders, OpenAI has received $1 billion in investment from Microsoft. OpenAI has licensed some of its technologies to Microsoft.

The CEO expects more funding as he expects his company to burn through the investment by Microsoft quickly.

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