OpenAI’s building GPT-5 – but it hasn’t got a clue what it will do

OpenAI is hard at work developing GPT-5 – the next generation of its AI large language model – but even the company’s CEO admits he can’t say what it will do.

OpenAI’s GPT-4 is one of the most prominent AI language models in the world, powering AI services including Microsoft’s Copilot offerings, the Bing AI chatbot and, of course, the company’s own ChatGPT.

GPT-4 was released in March and development work is well underway on GPT-5, but the company’s CEO Sam Altman says it’s too early to say how it will differ from what’s gone before.

“Until we go train that model, it’s like a fun guessing game for us,” Altman said in an interview with the FT. “We’re trying to get better at it, because I think it’s important from a safety perspective to predict the capabilities. But I can’t tell you here’s exactly what it’s going to do that GPT-4 didn’t.”

Paying for GPT-5 and AGI

Developing large language models is a blisteringly expensive business, made even more costly by recent shortages of the Nvidia H100 chips that most of the big AI companies use to build their AI systems.

Also in short supply is high quality data to train the next generation of AI with, with OpenAI recently putting out a call for large-scale data sets, particularly those focusing on long-form writing.

The cost of acquiring the supercomputing power and the data necessary to improve AI models means OpenAI will once again be turning to partners such as Microsoft for additional investment, Altman claims. Microsoft has already ploughed $10 billion into OpenAI as part of a multi-year partnership, but the OpenAI CEO said the company will need more money to reach so-called AGI – artificial general intelligence – where AI achieves human-like levels of sophistication.

When asked by the FT whether Microsoft would continue to invest in his company, Altman replied “I hope so,” before adding: “There’s a long way to go, and a lot of compute to build out between here and AGI… training expenses are just huge.”

The big problem for OpenAI is it’s far from the only player in the game. Google, Amazon, Elon Musk’s x.AI and others are all investing heavily, which not only pushes up prices for those in-demand AI processors, it increases demand for training data and boosts competition for customers to pay for the resulting services.

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Barry Collins

Barry has 20 years of experience working on national newspapers, websites and magazines. He was editor of PC Pro and is co-editor and co-owner of He has published a number of articles on TechFinitive covering data, innovation and cybersecurity.