OpenAI has plans to move to a subscription model or ‘professional’ iteration of ChatGPT as rumors swirl on the next upgrade to its features and functionality.
According to an update in OpenAI’s community Discord, the goal is to “continue improving and maintaining the service.”
OpenAI is currently at pains to point out that nothing official has as yet been decided on the future of ChatGPT. At this stage the corporation insists it is merely seeking dialogue with users to find out what their thoughts are on a subscription-based model.
This consultation has included 15-minute conversations with users as well as a survey via Google forms.
On Wednesday Company President Greg Brockman took to Twitter to state that OpenAI is, “Working on a professional version of ChatGPT; will offer higher limits & faster performance.”
Despite OpenAI insisting that no decision on a fee has been made, the Google form goes on to say:
“If you are selected, we’ll reach out to you to set up a payment process and a pilot. Please keep in mind that this is an early experimental program that is subject to change, and we are not making paid pro access generally available at this time.”
It, therefore, seems logical to infer that a fee model is strongly favored by OpenAI at this time. The title of the form “Waitlist for ChatGPT Professional access (Twitter)” suggests the name of the product at this time is “ChatGPT Professional.”
The questions asked of users include those on potential price points. While one question asks, “At what price ($ per month) would you consider ChatGPT to be so expensive that you would not consider buying it?” another poses the question, “At what price ($ per month) would you consider ChatGPT to be priced so low that you would feel the quality couldn’t be very good?”
The need for a revenue model
OpenAI and ChatGPT currently have little in the way of revenues. Despite this Microsoft look set to invest another $10 billion into the firm in a funding round that would value the OpenAI at $29 billion.
With that level of investment, Microsoft would seek to recoup that money as swiftly as possible. According to media outlet Semafor, Microsoft would seek to scoop 75% of OpenAI profits until the investment was recovered.
Following that Microsoft’s share of the profits would revert to 49%. A further 49% of the company would then be open to other investors while 2% of the company would remain in the hands of OpenAI’s nonprofit.
Semafor and OpenAI do have links through shared investors. Semafor’s seed funding came from the disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and his brother Gabriel Bankman-Fried.
Sam Bankman-Fried also invested in WorldCoin, a previous company launched by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Sam Bankman-Fried also made further investments in artificial intelligence via Anthropic which recently launched ChatGPT competitor, Claude.
Speculation on ChatGPT’s future
As OpenAI takes steps to plan out a sustainable future for ChatGPT, rumors on the internet are circling on what the next phase of its development will be.
One persistent rumor on social media is that GPT-4 will be trained on 100 trillion parameters compared to GPT-3’s 175 billion parameters. Further reports suggest that the next iteration of the technology will be able to “write a 60,000 word book from a single prompt.”
At this time there is nothing to suggest that this speculation has any basis in fact.