Why OpenAI's Announcement Was A Bigger Deal Than People Think

The AI Breakdown
13 May 202413:38

TLDROpenAI's recent product event introduced a divisive update, featuring the GPT-40, a flagship model with multi-modal capabilities, offering enhanced voice, audio, and text interaction. This update, positioned as a breakthrough in human-computer interaction, was announced alongside significant improvements in accessibility, with premium tools now available for free to all users. Despite mixed reactions, with some underwhelmed and others amazed, OpenAI's focus on making powerful AI tools widely accessible and fostering new methods of interaction may reshape our digital landscape.


  • 📢 OpenAI's recent product event was more significant than it initially seemed, introducing a new flagship model, GPT-40, with real-time multimodal capabilities.
  • 🚀 GPT-40 is described as having GPT-4 level intelligence but with faster response times and improved interaction methods, including audio, vision, and text.
  • 🆓 The introduction of GPT-40 also meant that free users now have access to a GPT-4 level model, which was a significant shift in accessibility.
  • 🎉 For paying users, the update included five times the capacity limits and priority access to new features.
  • 🔉 GPT-40's real-time responsiveness and emotional awareness in voice interaction were highlighted in demos, showcasing its advanced capabilities.
  • 👾 The model's ability to understand and generate a wide range of voice styles and emotions was particularly noted, including singing and dramatic storytelling.
  • 👓 New Vision capabilities were demonstrated, with GPT-40 assisting in solving a linear equation, indicating its tutoring potential.
  • 🌐 The API was also impacted by the update, with a 50% reduction in cost, making it more accessible for developers.
  • 📉 Some critics were underwhelmed by the event, comparing it to previous demos and expecting more groundbreaking announcements.
  • 📈 Despite initial reactions, OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, emphasized the mission to provide capable AI tools for free or at a low cost, and the potential for new human-computer interaction modes.
  • 🔄 The true native multimodality of GPT-40, which processes text, audio, and vision in a single neural network, was a key differentiator from previous models.

Q & A

  • What was the main focus of OpenAI's spring update event?

    -The main focus of OpenAI's spring update event was the introduction of a new flagship model called GPT-4 Omni, which is described as having GPT-4 level intelligence but with faster response times and better interaction capabilities across audio, vision, and text in real-time.

  • How does GPT-4 Omni's response time compare to human response time in a conversation?

    -GPT-4 Omni can respond to audio inputs in as little as 232 milliseconds with an average of 320 milliseconds, which is similar to human response time in a conversation.

  • What was the significance of making GPT-4 Omni available for free to all users?

    -Making GPT-4 Omni available for free represents a significant shift in accessibility, allowing a wide range of users to experience advanced AI capabilities without cost, potentially leading to widespread adoption and innovation.

  • How did the announcement affect the API pricing?

    -The announcement made the API 50% cheaper, making it more affordable for developers and businesses to integrate OpenAI's technology into their applications.

  • What was the public's initial reaction to the GPT-4 Omni demo?

    -The initial reactions were mixed, with some people underwhelmed by the demo, while others found the emotional awareness and voice modulation capabilities of GPT-4 Omni to be impressive and groundbreaking.

  • What are the key features of the new chat GPT desktop app?

    -The chat GPT desktop app includes a conversational version that allows users to interact with it through text, audio, and images. It can also assist with tasks such as explaining code, real-time translation, and describing what it sees on the screen.

  • How does GPT-4 Omni's multimodality differ from previous models?

    -GPT-4 Omni's multimodality is native, meaning it processes text, audio, and vision inputs all within a single neural network. This allows it to interact more naturally and perform tasks like real-time voice translation without needing to convert between different modalities.

  • What was the significance of the timing of OpenAI's announcement in relation to Google IO?

    -The timing of OpenAI's announcement, just before Google IO, was likely strategic. It allowed OpenAI to present its advancements in AI and set the stage for comparison with what Google might announce, potentially positioning OpenAI as an innovator in the field.

  • What is the potential impact of GPT-4 Omni on productivity and society?

    -GPT-4 Omni has the potential to unlock significant productivity gains for humanity by providing a highly intelligent AI tool that can be used by anyone. This could lead to advancements in various fields and change how people interact with technology.

  • How did the accessibility improvements in the update affect paid users?

    -Paid users no longer had access to differentiated technology compared to free users. Instead, they received five times the capacity limits and priority access to new features as they become available.

  • What was the general consensus on the significance of the update among those closely following AI developments?

    -There was a divide in opinions. Some thought the update was underwhelming and more of a product refresh rather than a significant breakthrough, while others believed it to be a transformative step towards a new era of human-computer interaction.



🔍 OpenAI's Divisive Product Update

OpenAI's recent spring update was centered around the release of several new features and models, including the GPT 4.0 (GPT 40), a desktop application for ChatGPT, and an updated user interface. The event was noted for not having Sam Altman present, which might indicate a lesser significance than anticipated. Despite the modest reception and initial divisiveness, significant features such as real-time audio response times comparable to human interaction, multimodal capabilities (handling text, audio, and image inputs), and the democratization of advanced AI tools were highlighted. Accessibility improvements were also emphasized, offering more advanced AI models to free users and promising faster and more inclusive tech developments.


🌐 Real-Time Demonstrations and Mixed Reactions

The product event showcased real-time functionalities of the new GPT 40 model, including real-time translation and emotional recognition in conversations. Despite the innovative demos, the reception was mixed, with some viewing the updates as underwhelming compared to previous releases like GPT-3 or even Google's earlier tech demonstrations. Critics pointed out that while the presentation showed significant technical advancements, it lacked the 'wow' factor of foundational changes. However, supporters argued that the GPT 40 model’s real-time, multimodal capabilities represented a substantial leap forward in AI technology.


🚀 Future Implications and Strategic Timing

Following the product event, discussions arose about the strategic timing of OpenAI's announcement, seemingly intended to preempt similar updates by major competitors like Google and Apple. The focus was on the transformative potential of GPT 40 in personal and professional settings, suggesting a future where AI could significantly enhance productivity and interface intuitively with users through multimodal interactions. Despite some skepticism over the immediate impact, the consensus seemed to lean towards a significant, though initially underrated, advancement in AI interaction paradigms, highlighting OpenAI's commitment to accessible and powerful AI tools.




The term 'divisive' refers to something that causes disagreement or hostility between people. In the context of the video, the OpenAI product update is described as initially divisive, meaning it likely sparked varied and conflicting opinions among the audience. This is crucial as it sets the stage for understanding the varied reactions and the significance of the announcement despite these initial disagreements.

💡GPT 40

GPT 40 is described as a new flagship model by OpenAI, possessing capabilities akin to GPT 4 but with enhanced speed and interaction methods, including reasoning across audio, vision, and text. It represents a significant advancement in AI technology, emphasizing its role in facilitating more natural human-computer interaction. This model is a focal point in the video, symbolizing a leap towards integrating AI more seamlessly into daily tasks and interactions.

💡real-time conversational capacity

Real-time conversational capacity refers to the ability of an AI system to respond instantly in conversations, similar to human response times. In the video, this feature of the new Chat GPT app is highlighted, demonstrating the AI's improved interaction speed and responsiveness, which are crucial for applications like live translations and more dynamic interactions with users.


Multimodal in the context of the video refers to the capability of GPT 40 to process and respond to multiple forms of input — text, audio, and image — within a single model framework. This feature is significant as it enhances the AI's utility in diverse scenarios, making it a versatile tool for users across different mediums.


Accessibility in the video refers to the broad availability of the AI model to users at no cost. OpenAI's announcement highlighted that the GPT 4 level model, part of the new updates, would be available for free to users, which is a significant step in democratizing advanced AI tools. This accessibility could potentially transform how a wide range of users, especially those who cannot afford premium services, interact with AI technologies.

💡human-computer interaction

Human-computer interaction (HCI) in the video describes the methods and processes through which humans interact with computers, where OpenAI aims to make this interaction as natural and efficient as possible. The video discusses new updates that significantly improve HCI by enabling more intuitive and responsive interactions through voice and multimodal inputs.

💡emotional awareness

Emotional awareness in AI, as mentioned in the video, refers to the ability of the AI model to recognize and respond to human emotions during interactions. This is demonstrated through the voice modulation capabilities of GPT 40, which can alter its speech style to match the emotional tone requested by the user, enhancing the engagement and personalization of the AI experience.


API, or Application Programming Interface, in the context of the video, refers to the set of rules and tools that allow developers to interact with OpenAI's technology. The announcement that GPT 40 would make API usage 50% cheaper indicates a significant reduction in cost for developers, encouraging wider adoption and innovation using OpenAI's models.

💡free base level

The 'free base level' mentioned in the video highlights the tier of service provided by OpenAI at no cost to the user, which now includes access to high-level models like GPT 4. This aspect is crucial as it underscores OpenAI's strategy to make powerful AI tools more accessible to the general public, potentially leading to increased use and dependency on AI across various sectors.

💡native multimodality

Native multimodality refers to the inherent ability of the AI model to handle multiple types of data input (text, audio, image) simultaneously without converting them into a single mode. This capability, as discussed in the video, allows for more fluid and versatile interactions, enabling the AI to perform tasks like real-time voice translation and emotion recognition directly, enhancing the user experience.


OpenAI's Spring update introduced a new flagship model, GPT-40, which features audio, vision, and text reasoning in real-time.

GPT-40 is described as having GPT-4 level intelligence but operates with significantly faster response times, akin to human conversational speeds.

The update included a ChatGPT desktop app and an improved user interface, enhancing the overall user experience.

OpenAI announced that GPT-40 would be available to free users, democratizing access to advanced AI technology.

The pricing for API access to GPT-40 was reduced by 50%, making it more accessible for developers.

Live demos showcased the real-time conversational capabilities of the new model, emphasizing its responsiveness and emotional awareness.

GPT-40 can generate a wide variety of voice styles and adapt its modulation based on user requests during interactions.

New vision capabilities were demonstrated, highlighting GPT-40's potential as an educational tool and assistant.

The announcement underwhelmed some industry experts who expected more groundbreaking advancements.

Despite mixed reviews, some observers noted GPT-40's potential impact on the future of human-computer interaction.

Sam Altman emphasized that making powerful AI tools freely available aligns with OpenAI's mission to benefit humanity.

GPT-40 introduces native multimodality, processing text, audio, and vision without converting them to a single modality.

Real-time translation capabilities and emotional recognition are among the advanced features of GPT-40.

Critics compare the update unfavorably to earlier Google Duplex demos, citing higher expectations from OpenAI.

The release timing seemed strategic, positioned just before major announcements from competitors like Google.