OpenAI launches new AI model and desktop version of ChatGPT


Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, at the Hope Global Forums annual meeting in Atlanta on Dec. 11, 2023.

Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images

OpenAI on Monday launched a new AI model and desktop version of ChatGPT, along with a new user interface.

The update brings GPT-4 to everyone, including OpenAI’s free users, technology chief Mira Murati said in a livestreamed event. She added that the new model, GPT-4o, is “much faster,” with improved capabilities in text, video and audio.

“This is the first time that we are really making a huge step forward when it comes to the ease of use,” Murati said.

OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, has been valued by more than $80 billion by investors. The company, founded in 2015, is under pressure to stay on top of generative AI market while finding ways to make money as it spends massive sums on processors and infrastructure to build and train its models.

The new model also has improved quality and speed of ChatGPT for 50 different languages, and it will also be available via OpenAI’s API so that developers can begin building applications using the new model today, Murati said. GPT-4o is twice as fast as, and half the cost of, GPT-4 Turbo, Murati said.

OpenAI team members also demonstrated the new model’s audio capabilities, asking for help calming down ahead of a public speech. OpenAI researcher Mark Chen said the model has the capability to “perceive your emotion,” adding that the model can also handle users interrupting it.

Chen demonstrated the model’s ability to tell a bedtime story and asked it to change the tone of its voice to be more dramatic or robotic. He even asked it to sing the story.

For OpenAI, it’s one of the company’s biggest announcements since its August launch of ChatGPT Enterprise, the AI chatbot’s business tier. That tool was in development for “under a year” and had the help of more than 20 companies of varying sizes and industries, OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap told CNBC at the time.

OpenAI, Microsoft and Google are at the helm of a generative AI gold rush as companies in seemingly every industry race to add AI-powered chatbots and agents to key services to avoid being left behind by competitors. Earlier this month, OpenAI rival Anthropic announced its first-ever enterprise offering and a free iPhone app.

A record $29.1 billion was invested across nearly 700 generative AI deals in 2023, an increase of more than 260% from the prior year, according to PitchBook. The market is predicted to top $1 trillion in revenue within a decade.

Some in the industry have raised concerns about the speed at which untested new services are coming to market, and academics and ethicists are distressed about the technology’s tendency to propagate bias.

After ChatGPT’s launch in November 2022, it broke records at the time as the fastest-growing consumer app in history, and now has about 100 million weekly active users. OpenAI says that more than 92% of Fortune 500 companies are using the platform.

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