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OpenAI CEO Looking 'Way Beyond' Search for ChatGPT's Future

In an interview with Forbes, Sam Altman talks about the rise of his company's AI chatbot and where he'd like to see the technology go next.

Nina Raemont Writer
A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Nina started at CNET writing breaking news stories before shifting to covering Security Security and other government benefit programs. In her spare time, she's in her kitchen, trying a new baking recipe.
Nina Raemont
2 min read
OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman speaking during an event in 2019

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaking during an event in San Francisco in 2019.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Artificial intelligence systems could one day rival Google search, but that's not what excites OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. In an interview with Forbes published Friday, Altman, whose company makes the AI bot ChatGPT, said he's interested in what comes "way beyond" search. 

"The stuff that I'm excited about for these models," Altman told Forbes, "is that it's not like, 'Oh, how do you replace the experience of going on the web and typing in a search query,' but 'What do we do that is totally different and way cooler?'"

OpenAI opened its chatbot system to the public in November. Within a few days of ChatGPT's launch, the tool surpassed 1 million users. ChatGPT works by having a person insert a prompt or ask it a question, and then it responds with an answer. Its answers are built from large volumes of data harvested from the internet.

Some have suggested that AI tools like ChatGPT could eventually replace search engine tools like Google's. However, Google already uses AI extensively in search. On Thursday, the tech giant said it plans to release its own AI chatbot in the coming weeks. 

In January, Microsoft extended its partnership with OpenAI with a multibillion-dollar investment. Microsoft said it plans to use OpenAI's models in its consumer and enterprise products.  

In the interview with Forbes, Altman lauded ChatGPT's abilities, like its capacity to summarize long articles and emails or to help debug complex code. He also raised concerns about some of the more dangerous aspects of AI tools. 

"I definitely have been watching with great concern the revenge porn generation that's been happening with the open source image generators," Altman told Forbes. "I think that's causing huge and predictable harm."

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