Prominent artificial intelligence company OpenAI has launched a new way for developers to sell and distribute their own, custom versions of AI software through an online store, with industry participants and watchdogs saying it could change how businesses and consumers use the technology.
The GPT Store will include personalized artificial intelligence applications, and will let users discover and build versions tailored to specific topics or needs.
The store will offer custom versions of ChatGPT, created by developers who pay a subscription fee to OpenAI.
Think of an AI bot that only exists to help with dinner recipes, or with math homework.
Or a program that uses artificial intelligence exclusively to generate “yo mama” jokes.
“Being able to engage with an AI tool in natural language is a transformational moment in technology, and this will bring two sides of the marketplace together,” said Sonia Sennik, executive director at the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab. “I think we’re going to see … ever more innovative tools that are built by folks like you and me, who can now speak to and engage with these models.”
Sennik called the new store an “avenue for accessibility,” and said having custom artificial intelligence chat bots available in a mass marketplace will help create a snowball effect, with more activity coming as users and developers are both attracted to this app store.
Opens accessibility but who is responsible?
“It’s going to give people who are not coders the capacity to start producing in the digital world without going out and hiring a software engineer,” said Gillian Hadfield, a professor of law at the University of Toronto who focuses on the safety and governance of artificial intelligence. “Wow.”
However, Hadfield said trouble looms for mass-market artificial intelligence, as laws and regulations are unclear on who is to blame when things go wrong.
For example, what if an artificial intelligence app was designed to book travel for a user — and got it wrong?
“So who’s responsible? Is the contract valid? Can you get the money back if it bought the wrong airline ticket? I just think there’s a lot of questions around what happens to the way our whole market economy works when you have these kinds of agents out there doing stuff in the world, and when you’ve made it very open access to produce them,” said Hadfield.
Canadians already on board
The GPT Store already has multiple users, including Vancouver-based tech company Commit, which has developed a custom app to locate, research and apply to jobs on behalf of tech workers.
Commit co-founder Greg Gunn calls the launch of the app store an “amazing development” and looks forward to potential financial windfalls.
OpenAI initially delayed store
The store is OpenAI’s attempt to build on the consumer success of ChatGPT, which introduced the world to generative AI last year, drawing in users with its ability to write humanlike language.
The GPT Store will initially be rolled out to users who are on paid ChatGPT plans, OpenAI said. In the next several months, the company intends to add a way for GPT creators to monetize their personalized AIs.
The Microsoft-backed startup announced the upcoming GPT Store in November at its first developer conference.
The delay came against the backdrop of the surprise ouster of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman by the company’s board, and his subsequent reinstatement when employees threatened to quit.
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