As we all know, the latest buzz in the tech world has been around OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot, which will soon be available as an application programming interface or API, thus letting businesses involve the chatbot in their apps and programs. This could open the possibility of generating a revenue source for OpenAI if it eventually starts charging for the API.
Along with the API, OpenAI’s ChatGPT will also be available to Microsoft enterprise customers as a segment of the Azure OpenAI service. The OpenAI service on Azure allows Microsoft’s enterprise users to apply OpenAI’s AI models to their applications.
What is an API?
APIs are systems that let two software applications communicate with each other using a particular set of protocols and definitions. For instance, the weather bureau’s software system possesses daily weather data. So the weather app on your phone “communicates” to the bureau’s system via APIs and shows daily weather updates on your device.
What does API stand for?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. In the milieu of APIs, Application refers to software with a distinct function. An interface is a contract of service between two applications. This “contract” delineates how the two communicate via responses and requests. Their API documentation contains info on how developers should structure these requests and responses.
ChatGPT as an API
During an announcement on Twitter, OpenAI posted a form for developers interested in using ChatGPT as an API. The form noted, “We have been blown away by the excitement around ChatGPT and the desire from the developer community to have an API available. If you are interested in a ChatGPT API, please fill out this form to stay updated on our latest offerings.” Once the API becomes available, businesses that sign up could plug ChatGPT into their business apps. For example, you could use ChatGPT to answer user queries using the API if you have a delivery business.
ChatGPT is a conversational bot built on the company’s GPT-3.5 large language model (LLM). It was launched publicly for testing in November 2022 and has gone viral ever since, with many arguing that this will revolutionize how users search for information. With its popularity, Google issued a ‘code red’ even though it has its own chatbots that are not publicly available. ChatGPT’s revolutionary status is because it can seemingly answer different kinds of user queries, from writing long essays to SEO search terms to coding-related questions. However, experts have also alerted people that ChatGPT is not entirely accurate and many of its answers– which often seem correct– are potentially wrong.
Nonetheless, ChatGPT has become the talk of AI and tech in 2023. OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman has also tweeted in the past how several company launches would not be possible without Microsoft. He also made a post last year that thanked Microsoft, especially Azure, for their work and support in making openAI launches successful.
Running these queries is also expensive, given that ChatGPT crossed around one million users in just over a week. Altman has given his due attention to a question made by Elon Musk on the average cost of the chat still being in single digits cents per chat and suggestions on monetizing it somehow at some point as the computation costs are massive. Some estimates put the price at $3 million per month, which has likely grown given that it runs on the Azure platform. The API could cater to some of these costs.
ChatGPT: in business with Azure
Meanwhile, Microsoft Azure’s cloud service is set to make OpenAI’s ChatGPT accessible to its enterprise-level users. According to an announcement, Microsoft’s enterprise customers who access its Azure cloud service will be able to use ChatGPT via the Azure OpenAI service in the coming time. ChatGPT itself runs inference and has been trained on AI infrastructure Azure. Microsoft is already communicating with OpenAI in order to invest $10 billion and has been an early investor in the startup before. Eric Boyd, Corporate VP of AI Platform in Microsoft, in a blog post mentioned that the Azure OpenAI service is now publicly available, and this will enable more business entities to apply for access to many advanced AI models in the world—including Codex, GPT-3.5, and DALL•E 2.
Microsoft also uses Azure OpenAI Service to power its products, such as GitHub Copilot, which lets developers write code better. Microsoft’s Power BI also uses GPT-3 powered natural language to make formulae and expressions automatically. Another example is Microsoft Designer, which builds content with natural language prompts and relies on OpenAI’s models. Being such a utilitarian, ChatGPT is definitely envisioned as a tool that the public will eventually have to pay to use.
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