OpenAI spent $520 million last year, but Sam Altman doesn’t care

Sam Altman Standford

Open AI, Google, Microsoft, Anthropic, MidJourney, and other companies have found ways of monetizing their AI tools. Well, guess how much money these companies have made off of them, $0! Developing and training AI is expensive, and it’s been a net loss for major companies. A good example would be OpenAI. A recent interview revealed that OpenAI spent $520 million last year, but its CEO does not care.

This should come as no surprise, as OpenAI isn’t a for-profit company. It is a non-profit company that heavily relies on money from investors. The company spends a lot of time working on and developing the AI technology behind ChatGPT and DALL-E. Sure, it charges to use GPT-4 and its API among other things. However, the amount of money spent developing the AI far outweighs the revenue generated from the sources.

OpenAI spent $520 billion last year, but Sam Altman does not care

Recently, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman talked at the Entrepreneurial Thoughts Leaders seminar at Stanford. One section of the interview focused on the financials of OpenAI, and we got a pretty shocking figure. It spent more than half a billion dollars last year training and developing its flagship AI.

What was more shocking was Sam Altman’s view of GPT-4. He said that GPT-4 is not phenomenal, and he also said that it’s “the dumbest model” that any person will have to use. Those are pretty harsh words, but Altman emphasized the importance of shipping products early and often and delivering iterative updates rather than shipping nothing at all.

Later in the interview, Altman said that he doesn’t care how much money open AI spends, as long as the company can bring AGI into reality. “Whether we burn 500 million a year, or 5 billion, or 50 billion a year, I don’t care. […] as long as we can stay on the trajectory where eventually we create way more value for society than that, and as long as we can figure out a way to pay the bills, we’re making AGI.”

Obviously, Altman and the company are cautious about how much investors’ money the company spends, so we’ll have to see if the company manages to bring AGI into the world while still paying the bills.

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