OpenAI rolls out ChatGPT for business customers

March 1, 2023, 6:00 PM UTC
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Today the A.i. company announced it was making its wildly popular ChatGPT A.I. chatbot available to enterprise customers through its API service.
Jovelle Tamayo—The Washington Post via Getty Images

Instacart and Shopify have joined Snap in being among the first businesses to announce major new product features powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT A.I. chatbot technology.

The companies made the announcements Wednesday alongside OpenAI debuting access to ChatGPT through its API service. The service lets business customers access the chatbot technology and other A.I. systems created by OpenAI, and to integrate it with their own software.

Online grocery delivery company Instacart said it will use ChatGPT to enhance its existing mobile app, allowing customers to talk with ChatGPT for recipe suggestions and meal plans, and then enabling the ingredients for those meals to be automatically added to a customer’s online shopping cart. It said the service would be available later this year.

Shopify said it is integrating ChatGPT into its consumer-oriented Shop app, allowing customers to get personalized shopping recommendations from the chatbot.

Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel said earlier this week that Snapchat is rolling out a “My AI” chatbot powered by ChatGPT that will enable users of its premium subscription service to hold conversations with OpenAI’s chatbot through the messaging service. That announcement was confirmed in a press release from OpenAI today.

Also using the new API is online learning app Quizlet which is using the OpenAI service to generate novel questions and quizzes for users as well as to provide a kind of individualized tutor to those using the platform, Quizlet CEO Lex Bayer told Fortune in an interview. “We are have combined our educational content library with a chatbot that uses the Socratic method,” he said.

While ChatGPT, when used as a general chatbot, is prone to inventing information, the way in which Quizlet is using the underlying language model, Bayer said, allows the company to restrict the answers the A.I. tutor generates to information that is already contained in the question and answer sets uploaded to Quizlet or which pertain additional information around the topic that whoever has uploaded the subject to Quizlet has provided in ways that reduce the chance that the bot will stray from this content when providing information. What ChatGPT allows, Bayer said, is to use these question and answer sets to create novel and more complex, multi-part questions, and more varied and interesting practice exercises.

The rollout of a commercial API service seemingly means that OpenAI could be competing for customers with its strategic partner, Microsoft, which recently invested $10 billion in the startup in exchange for a right to the majority of any profits OpenAI makes for what it is likely to be years to come. Microsoft offers access to OpenAI’s API services through its own Azure cloud computing infrastructure.

But Jason Wong, an analyst with technology consulting firm Gartner, said that Microsoft was more focused on rolling out OpenAI’s technology within its own product suite, such as Bing and GitHub Copilot, rather than simply using OpenAI as a selling point for its Azure cloud computing service. Wong said Microsoft’s deal with OpenAI meant that the tech giant would essentially “get to have its cake and eat it too”: existing Azure customers would likely access OpenAI’s A.I. technology through Azure. But Microsoft will still be entitled to its cut of any profits OpenAI generates from non-Azure customers who access ChatGPT directly through OpenAI’s own API.

OpenAI said it would offer its GPT-3.5 Turbo model, which is the official name of the large language model that underpins ChatGPT, through its API for two-tenths of a cent per 1,000 tokens (a token is approximately 1.5 words) that the A.I. generates. OpenAI said this was 10 times less expensive than any pricing plans for the other GPT-3.5 models it had previously made available.

In addition, the company is offering customers who need to be guaranteed constant, reliable access to the GPT-3.5 Turbo model the opportunity to have their own, dedicated data center capacity devoted just to their workloads. The company said this would make sense for customers who required more than 450 million tokens per day from the model—which might be the case for customers such as Snap and Instacart. Otherwise, a company’s API queries are run on datacenter servers that are shared with other OpenAI customers.

In addition to GPT-3.5 Turbo, OpenAI said it would begin making another advanced A.I. model, its Whisper text-to-speech model, available through its paid API. It announced that Korean language learning app Speak would be the first customer of this new Whisper commercial service.

Update, March 2: This story has been updated to correct the capitalization of GitHub’s Copilot software and to clarify the way in which Quizlet is using ChatGPT to provide questions and answers to users.

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