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Highlights from ChatGPT’s first year: AI evolution unpacked.

Highlights from ChatGPT’s first year: AI evolution unpacked.

It’ll be a surprise to many but last week, on November 30, was ChatGPT’s first birthday. While many see Artificial Intelligence (AI) and large language models (LLM) as humanlike, AI’s first year has been nothing like the first year of a human’s life. A human child’s first year is mostly consumed with sleeping and feeding. ChatGPT’s first year has been far more dramatic.

Within a year of ChatGPT’s release, companies, their executives, and their customers aren’t asking whether they’ll adopt it, but instead are asking how disruptive it will be to the way work is traditionally done. For example, U.S. job site Indeed has said that, while technology is unlikely to replace many job roles fully, all U.S. jobs on the website have skills that can be done or augmented by generative AI. 

Analysts, chief investment officers (CIO), chief executive officers (CEO), and Bill Gates are on the record claiming generative AI is the most important advancement since the internet. In terms of conversations, this time last year, very few company CEOs were talking about AI. This year, AI is mentioned frequently at corporate briefings, trading updates and annual general meetings (AGM), dominating some. 

That’s an enormous achievement for a first birthday, and it demonstrates the rapid evolution of AI’s first year. I thought a ‘highlights and milestones’ reel of AI’s first year, in which significant technological advancements, collaborations, and regulatory responses have occurred, makes sense. Each is shaping the future of AI.

The journey began on November 30, 2022, when OpenAI introduced ChatGPT to the world. Within just five days, this versatile chatbot captivated over a million users, and OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, highlighted its limitations.

On January 9, OpenAI announced a waitlist for a premium version of ChatGPT amidst reports of Microsoft contemplating a substantial U.S.$10 billion investment. Shortly after, Microsoft amplified its partnership with OpenAI by launching the Azure OpenAI Service on January 16, introducing rigorous content filters and application processes for developers.

Not even the end of the first month of the year and, on January 26, U.S. House of Representatives, Ted Lieu, employed ChatGPT to draft AI-focused legislation. This was followed by OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT Plus, a subscription plan, on February 1. The AI arena expanded with Google partnering with Anthropic and introducing Bard, its conversational AI service, in early February.

Partnerships and expansions continued to shape the sector. Amazon Web Services (AWS) joined forces with Hugging Face, while OpenAI reduced the price for its ChatGPT application programming interface (API) and offered its Whisper API to companies like Instacart and Shopify. Microsoft and Salesforce introduced AI capabilities into their business applications, further integrating AI into corporate environments.

The launch of GPT-4 by OpenAI on March 14 marked another significant advancement, quickly adopted by leading companies for various applications. The U.S. government also began taking a keener interest, with the White House convening a high-level meeting on May 4 to debate AI’s dangers and discuss its ethical use.

Not all developments went smoothly. Data privacy concerns led to temporary restrictions by Italian regulators in late March, which were lifted after OpenAI agreed to certain conditions. The U.S. Copyright Office also began examining AI’s implications on copyright law.

The northern hemisphere summer months saw continued improvements and occasional setbacks. OpenAI enhanced ChatGPT’s privacy settings and introduced new tools, while facing a Federal Trade Commission(FTC) investigation over data security practices. Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon made their mark too, each releasing or enhancing their AI models and tools.

Zoom’s policy changes in August stirred privacy concerns, leading to swift amendments. Meanwhile, legislative frameworks were proposed in the U.S. Senate to manage AI’s rapid development, and California initiated a state-wide AI study.

As the year progressed, AI capabilities in ChatGPT expanded to voice and image functionalities. However, November saw leadership changes at OpenAI. OpenAI’s board removed CEO Sam Altman who stepped down. Then, with the backing of major shareholders and staff, the board stepped down and Sam Altman returned.

It’s been a rollercoaster first year for generative AI. From groundbreaking releases and collaborations to regulatory challenges and ethical debates, the AI landscape has been reshaped and, soon enough, so will the world. As companies, regulators, social welfare groups, investors, unions, and governments continue to navigate this fast-evolving field, the journey of generative AI remains one of the most fascinating and consequential developments of our time. 

Happy (belated) birthday!

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Roger Montgomery is the Founder and Chairman of Montgomery Investment Management. Roger has over three decades of experience in funds management and related activities, including equities analysis, equity and derivatives strategy, trading and stockbroking. Prior to establishing Montgomery, Roger held positions at Ord Minnett Jardine Fleming, BT (Australia) Limited and Merrill Lynch.

This post was contributed by a representative of Montgomery Investment Management Pty Limited (AFSL No. 354564). The principal purpose of this post is to provide factual information and not provide financial product advice. Additionally, the information provided is not intended to provide any recommendation or opinion about any financial product. Any commentary and statements of opinion however may contain general advice only that is prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Because of this, before acting on any of the information provided, you should always consider its appropriateness in light of your personal objectives, financial circumstances and needs and should consider seeking independent advice from a financial advisor if necessary before making any decisions. This post specifically excludes personal advice.

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