The recent announcement from OpenAI regarding artificial intelligence “apps” does not signal the end for emerging startups working on AI products, according to two investors associated with OpenAI who spoke at a Helpleak NEXT conference on Thursday.

An illustration taken on February 3, 2023, features the ChatGPT logo.

These investors emphasized that there is still a keen interest in discovering new AI products that can enhance user interactions with technology and tackle profound technological challenges, such as brain-computer interfaces.

OpenAI, the creator of the widely used ChatGPT chatbot, recently introduced a marketplace enabling users to access customized AI “apps” for various tasks, including teaching math or creating stickers.

The announcement raised concerns among founders of AI startups who fear they might face challenges in competing with OpenAI, as the company endeavors to establish an AI empire with offerings targeting both consumers and enterprises.

Konstantine Buhler, a partner at Sequoia Capital, reassured at the conference, stating, “There’s still ample space for ongoing innovation in AI. We’re in a transitional phase within a revolution that spans decades. You can play a significant role in shaping how this evolves.”

Sequoia Capital made an investment in OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, in 2021, with Microsoft also holding a significant stake.

An illustration taken on February 3, 2023, features the ChatGPT logo.

Avery Klemmer, a partner at Thrive Capital, which recently expanded its investment in OpenAI, expressed optimism about the potential for the emergence of consumer applications alongside ChatGPT.

She anticipates further innovations within the established framework of AI chatbots, as popularized by ChatGPT, stating, “I think there will be truly novel formats and forms of engagement that get invented.”

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Despite the recent surge in investments from companies and venture capital firms into AI technology, analysts and investors assert that the development of AI products is still in its early stages.

Although the construction of applications using large language models remains relatively expensive, the rapid pace of research in the field could lead to a significant reduction in the cost of AI inference—utilizing an AI model to make predictions. This, in turn, has the potential to inspire the creation of new products, as mentioned by Jill Chase, a partner at CapitalG, during the Reuters NEXT conference.

“The cost of inference coming down so dramatically may seem like a small thing, but it’s hugely impactful for what types of businesses can be created and what use cases incumbents can empower,” she explained.

(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Deepa Babington)

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