What to know about OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT

The viral chatbot’s creator is rocketing into the mainstream

OpenAI is the company behind the popular chatbot, ChatGPT. (Talia Trackim/The Washington Post illustration; iStock)
7 min

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that GPT-4 will have the ability to generate images, music and video. GPT-4 can generate text that describes images. The version below has been corrected.

A popular tool that can respond to questions in eerily human ways, called ChatGPT, captured the internet’s attention as people use it to write song lyrics, essays, TV episodes and more. Now, the company behind that is releasing software that goes a step further — adding the ability to describe images.

OpenAI, which has created the new technology, called GPT-4, will likely turbocharge an already heated race among Silicon Valley giants to unveil artificial intelligence software.

In recent weeks, Microsoft, which has a partnership with OpenAI, showcased new chat technology that allows people to converse with AI as part of its search engine, Bing. Google has done something similar. Snapchat has launched “My AI,” a new chatbot powered by ChatGPT technology.

Despite the buzz around all these products, OpenAI faces steep challenges, notably fixing its products’ glaring issues with accuracy, bias and harm.

Here’s everything you need to know about OpenAI.