OpenAI is here to steal Apple’s mojo. Taking a leaf out of the tech giant’s book, OpenAI is all primed to challenge the company in its own territory by launching a series of wearable products. According to a recent report, Jony Ive, the renowned designer of the iPhone, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman have been discussing a new AI hardware.
This development hints that Altman is looking at plunging into the hardware segment so his consumers can make the best use of OpenAI LLMs, including GPT-4. And it does make sense for OpenAI to venture into wearable products as the company has now created a ‘real multimodal’ model with GPT-4 which can now hear, see and speak. Currently, users can only access GPT-based models on the web and via smartphones.
OpenAI Saves SoftBank
Meanwhile, SoftBank CEO and investor Masayoshi Son is also involved in this new development and has held talks with both Altman and Ive about the idea, but it is unclear if he will remain involved in the longer run. SoftBank recently posted a staggering net loss of $3.3 billion and is looking for new investments in AI for a better ROI.
The fact that OpenAI recently partnered with WHOOP to introduce WHOOP Coach suggests that SoftBank might soon become part of OpenAI’s endeavours. Leveraging OpenAI’s latest technology, WHOOP Coach instantly generates personalised and conversational answers to your inquiries about health, fitness, and well-being.
WHOOP is an American wearable technology company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Its primary product is a fitness tracker that monitors strain, recovery, and sleep. The device is widely recognised for its popularity among athletes. Notably, in 2021, WHOOP secured $200 million in a Series F funding round, valuing the company at $3.6 billion. This funding was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
Moreover, recent reports indicate that SoftBank is looking for deals in AI, including a potential investment in OpenAI with SoftBank’s founder and chief executive, Masayoshi Son, looking to invest tens of billions of dollars in AI. Also currently, OpenAI is talking to investors about a potential share sale that would value the startup at $80 billion to $90 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
If we connect the dots, it is apparent that SoftBank might invest in OpenAI to introduce generative AI-based hardware products in the future. The step to partner with WHOOP appears to be a more of an experiment from OpenAI’s perspective where the company might try to gauge how the customers are reacting to generative AI capabilities in the hardware.
A true visionary with an investor mindset
This is not the first time Altman has shown interest in venturing into hardware. Earlier this year he invested in a startup called Humane Inc. which aims to create products in the era of generative AI. Humane recently raised $100 million in Series C round. In a statement, the company said that it is collaborating with OpenAI to integrate its technology into the Humane device and deliver OpenAI and Humane AI experiences at scale to consumers.
Interestingly, back in 2020, Altman invested $30 million in series A funding of Humane. One fascinating fact about Humane is that it was founded by former Apple employees Imran Chaudhari and Bethany Bongiorno. Imran spent over 20 years at Apple working on products like iPod, iPad and Apple Watch and iPhone. A partnership between Humane and Jony Ive could greatly benefit OpenAI.
Humane recently introduced its new product called Humane AI Pin which is a cloth-based wearable technology with a software platform that leverages the power of AI to enable innovative personal computing experiences.
If OpenAI can develop new products for integrating LLMs, it could unlock a realm of fresh opportunities for the AI startup. The potential applications of multimodal GPT-4 are limitless, and it’s commendable that OpenAI is exploring a new interface, much like how Amazon’s Alexa revolutionised the way we use NLP.
Meanwhile, you can now access ChatGPT’s new voice assistant on iPhone 15 Pro using ‘Action Button’ and use it to replace Siri.