OpenAI's Sora Made Me Crazy AI Videos—Then the CTO Answered (Most of) My Questions | WSJ

The Wall Street Journal
13 Mar 202410:38

TLDROpenAI's text-to-video AI model, Sora, generates hyper-realistic, detailed one-minute videos from text prompts. While impressive, the technology exhibits flaws, such as issues with hand motion and continuity. Mira Murati, OpenAI's CTO, discusses the potential and challenges of Sora, including its current limitations, the data used for training, and the ethical considerations surrounding its release and potential impact on the video industry and misinformation.


  • 🎥 Sora is OpenAI's text-to-video AI model that generates hyper-realistic, highly-detailed one-minute videos from text prompts.
  • 👩‍💻 Mira Murati, OpenAI's CTO, provides insights into Sora's capabilities and its current stage of development.
  • 🤖 The AI-generated women in the video demonstrate the potential of Sora but also highlight areas needing improvement, such as hand movements and continuity.
  • 🚀 Sora uses a diffusion model, a type of generative model, to create videos from random noise, focusing on smooth transitions for realism.
  • 🎬 The quality of Sora's videos is impressive, but they still contain flaws and glitches, showing that the technology is not yet perfect.
  • 🔍 OpenAI is working on ways to edit and improve Sora's output after generation, addressing issues like color changes in objects.
  • 📚 Sora was trained on a mix of publicly available and licensed data, including potential sources like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Shutterstock.
  • 💡 The generation of Sora's videos is computationally intensive and currently more expensive than other AI models like ChatGPT and DALL-E.
  • 🕒 OpenAI aims to make Sora available to the public, with the hope of releasing it within the year, pending safety and reliability assessments.
  • 🔒 Ethical considerations are paramount in Sora's development, with OpenAI conducting red teaming to identify and address vulnerabilities and biases.
  • 🌐 The challenge of distinguishing between real and AI-generated videos is a significant concern, with implications for trust and content provenance.

Q & A

  • What is Sora, and how does it generate videos?

    -Sora is OpenAI's text-to-video AI model that creates hyper-realistic, highly-detailed videos of about one-minute length based on text prompts. It uses a diffusion model, a type of generative model, to start from random noise and gradually define a scene, adding details to each frame, ensuring continuity and realism.

  • What challenges does Sora face in generating videos?

    -Sora faces challenges in maintaining the consistency of objects between frames, accurately depicting complex motions like hands, and following text prompts precisely. There are also imperfections such as morphing objects and color changes in moving vehicles.

  • How is Sora's video generation process different from traditional filmmaking?

    -In traditional filmmaking, filmmakers ensure continuity and realism by manually creating a smooth transition between frames. Sora automates this process using AI, aiming to maintain a sense of presence and realism in the generated videos.

  • What kind of data was used to train Sora?

    -Sora was trained on a mix of publicly available data and licensed data, which could include content from platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Shutterstock.

  • How long does it take for Sora to generate a video?

    -The time taken to generate a video with Sora can vary depending on the complexity of the prompt, but it generally takes a few minutes.

  • What are the computing power requirements for Sora compared to ChatGPT and DALL-E?

    -Sora requires significantly more computing power than ChatGPT and DALL-E, as it is a research output and not yet optimized for public use like the other models.

  • When does OpenAI plan to make Sora available to the public?

    -OpenAI aims to make Sora available to the public eventually, with a hope for release within the year, but the exact timeline is uncertain and depends on the resolution of issues related to misinformation and harmful bias.

  • What safety and ethical considerations is OpenAI taking into account with Sora?

    -OpenAI is conducting red teaming to test Sora's safety, security, and reliability, aiming to identify and address vulnerabilities, biases, and other potential harmful issues before broad deployment.

  • How does OpenAI plan to handle the generation of sensitive content with Sora?

    -While specific decisions have not been made, OpenAI expects to implement policies similar to DALL-E, where generating images of public figures will not be allowed. The company is also working with artists and creators to determine the level of flexibility and control the tool should provide.

  • What is the potential impact of Sora on the video industry?

    -Sora is seen as a tool for extending creativity rather than replacing human creators. OpenAI wants industry professionals to be involved in the development and deployment of the technology to ensure its responsible use and to address economic considerations for those contributing data.

  • How will the authenticity of videos be verified with the advent of AI-generated videos?

    -OpenAI is researching methods to watermark videos and is working on systems to verify content provenance, helping to distinguish between real and AI-generated content and ensuring trust in genuine material.

  • What are the main concerns regarding the development and deployment of AI tools like Sora?

    -The main concerns include ensuring safety, addressing societal questions, and managing the balance between the potential for misuse and the benefits of AI tools in extending human creativity and capabilities.



🎥 Introduction to Sora: OpenAI's Text-to-Video AI Model

This paragraph introduces Sora, OpenAI's text-to-video AI model, which generates hyper-realistic and highly-detailed one-minute videos from text prompts. It discusses the capabilities of Sora, including its use of a diffusion model to create smooth and realistic videos, and highlights the challenges and imperfections in the AI's current state, such as issues with hands and continuity in complex scenes. The conversation between Joanna and Mira Murati, OpenAI's CTO, delves into the technology behind Sora, its potential impact on the video industry, and the concerns about its misuse, including the generation of misinformation and the need for content provenance.


🚀 Sora's Development and Future Plans

The second paragraph focuses on the development process of Sora, including the use of publicly available and licensed data for training. It discusses the computational power required to generate Sora videos, the current limitations of the model, and OpenAI's plans for optimization and public release. Mira Murati shares insights into the timeline for making Sora available to the public, the considerations for its release in relation to global elections, and the ongoing red teaming process to ensure the tool's safety, security, and reliability. The paragraph also touches on the potential content limitations for Sora, such as restrictions on generating images of public figures and the handling of sensitive content.


🤖 Balancing AI Innovation with Ethical Concerns

The final paragraph reflects on the broader implications of AI tools like Sora, emphasizing the potential to extend human creativity and knowledge. It acknowledges the challenges in navigating the development of AI technologies, particularly the balance between innovation and the establishment of safety guardrails. Mira Murati expresses her concerns about the societal questions raised by AI and the importance of addressing these issues before deploying such technologies widely. The paragraph concludes with a positive outlook on the value of AI tools for the future, despite the complexities and ethical considerations they bring to the table.




Sora is OpenAI's text-to-video AI model that generates hyper-realistic, highly-detailed videos based on text prompts. It represents a significant advancement in AI technology, as it can create smooth and realistic video content, although it still has imperfections and glitches. The model is currently in the research phase and is not yet available to the public, but it is expected to be released in the future with a cost similar to that of DALL-E.

💡Diffusion Model

A diffusion model is a type of generative model used in AI, which starts from random noise and progressively refines the image to create a more detailed output. In the context of the video, Sora utilizes a diffusion model to generate videos from text prompts, learning from a vast amount of data to identify objects and actions, and then defining the timeline and details of each frame to create realistic video content.


Realism in the context of the video refers to the quality of the AI-generated content that makes it appear lifelike and believable. The goal of Sora is to achieve a high level of realism by ensuring smooth transitions between frames, maintaining consistency in objects and people, and avoiding any disconnections that would make the video appear unreal. Realism is a key aspect that differentiates Sora from other AI video models and is central to its appeal and potential impact on the film and video industry.


Glitches refer to errors or imperfections in the AI-generated videos. In the context of the video, glitches are visible as inconsistencies in the video content, such as the morphing of a person into a robot instead of a clear yanking of the camera, or the changing colors of cars. These glitches indicate that while Sora is capable of creating highly detailed and realistic videos, it is still in the development phase and requires further refinement.

💡Red Teaming

Red teaming is a process where a group of experts tests a tool or system to identify vulnerabilities, biases, and other potential issues to ensure its safety, security, and reliability. In the context of the video, Sora is undergoing red teaming to make sure it does not generate harmful content and to prepare it for safe public release. This process is crucial for addressing concerns about the potential misuse of AI technology and its impact on society.


Misinformation refers to false or misleading information that is spread, often unintentionally, through various channels. In the context of the video, the concern about misinformation is related to the potential for AI-generated videos to be used for creating false content that could influence public opinion or disrupt global elections. OpenAI is cautious about releasing Sora to the public until they are confident that it will not contribute to the spread of misinformation.

💡Content Provenance

Content provenance refers to the origin and authenticity of digital content, particularly in the context of distinguishing between real and AI-generated content. As AI technology advances, it becomes increasingly important to establish methods for verifying the source and authenticity of videos and other digital media to prevent the spread of misinformation and ensure trust in the content.

💡AI Tools

AI tools are applications that utilize artificial intelligence to perform tasks, solve problems, or enhance human capabilities. In the video, AI tools like Sora, ChatGPT, and DALL-E are showcased as extensions of human creativity and knowledge, capable of generating videos, text, and images, respectively. These tools are expected to become faster, better, and more widely available, transforming various industries and raising questions about their impact on society and the workforce.


Economics in this context refers to the financial aspects and implications of using AI models like Sora. It encompasses the costs associated with generating content, the potential revenue models, and the economic impact on industries and individuals contributing data to train these models. OpenAI is considering these economic factors as they develop and deploy AI tools, aiming to create a sustainable and fair ecosystem.

💡Safety Guardrails

Safety guardrails are measures put in place to prevent harm and ensure the responsible use of AI technology. They include ethical guidelines, content moderation, and technical features designed to limit the potential negative impacts of AI, such as the spread of misinformation or the generation of harmful content. In the video, OpenAI emphasizes the importance of safety guardrails as they develop and test AI models like Sora.


Creativity in the context of the video refers to the ability to generate original and imaginative ideas, which AI tools like Sora are designed to enhance. By extending human creativity, AI models can help artists and creators produce innovative content, push the boundaries of what is possible, and explore new forms of expression.


Sora is OpenAI's text-to-video AI model that generates hyper-realistic, highly-detailed one-minute videos from text prompts.

Mira Murati, OpenAI's CTO, temporarily stepped in as CEO during Sam Altman's brief ousting.

Sora uses a diffusion model, starting from random noise to create a distilled image.

The AI model analyzes numerous videos to learn object and action identification for scene creation.

Sora's realism comes from its ability to maintain consistency between frames, crucial for a sense of presence.

Flaws and glitches are still present in Sora's generated videos, such as morphing figures and color changes.

OpenAI is working on post-fact editing capabilities for Sora-generated videos.

Sora's training data includes publicly available and licensed content, with confirmed inclusion of Shutterstock videos.

The videos generated are 720p and 20 seconds long, taking a few minutes to create depending on the prompt's complexity.

Sora is more expensive to run compared to ChatGPT and DALL-E, as it is a research output and not yet optimized for public use.

OpenAI aims to make Sora available to the public at a similar cost to DALL-E, though no specific timeline is confirmed.

Red teaming is currently being conducted on Sora to ensure its safety, security, and reliability.

OpenAI is considering limitations on content generation with Sora, similar to DALL-E's policy on public figures.

Nudity and its portrayal in Sora's videos are still under consideration, with potential for creative control.

OpenAI is collaborating with artists and creators to determine the tool's flexibility and usefulness.

The company is researching watermarking and content provenance to differentiate between real and AI-generated videos.

AI tools like Sora are expected to greatly extend human creativity and knowledge, despite the challenges ahead.

OpenAI is focused on addressing safety and societal questions related to AI deployment and impact.

Despite concerns, the potential benefits of AI tools are considered worth the effort to integrate them into daily life.