OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT (the chatbot that has dazzled the internet), wants to create a marketplace that will allow developers to sell AI models built on top of its own AI technology.

OpenAI’s enterprise clients frequently tailor ChatGPT technology to their own specific use-cases, which range from identifying financial fraud via online transaction data, to answering employee questions based on internal business data. Through OpenAI’s proposed marketplace, creators of unique enterprise models could offer them to other businesses.

Key highlights

  • OpenAI plans to launch an app store for customized AI chatbots
  • This move could create marketplace competition among existing tech giants (and extend OpenAI’s customer reach)
  • The app store push may (or may not) be related to the fact that OpenAI recently closed a $175 million investment fund focused on empowering other AI startups

AI app store news

CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, shared the potential AI app store plans in a meeting with London-based developers last month. This type of AI marketplace could theoretically compete with app stores operated by some of the company’s customers and technology partners, including giants like Microsoft and Salesforce.

Two of OpenAI’s customers, Aquant and Khan Academy, have already expressed interest in hosting their ChatGPT-powered AI models on OpenAI’s marketplace.

AI app revolution

Will an AI app store (operated by OpenAI or otherwise) revolutionize AI? When the iPhone launched in 2007, only a few apps were built into the device. What really transformed the iPhone was the launch of the App Store.

The App Store made it possible for developers to create apps for specific use-cases and to then store them in a centralized location – where others could see and download them.

And now, there are millions of apps that most of us wouldn’t have imagined 16 years ago. In the way that the App Store revolutionized smartphone use, could an internet-based location for AI tool storage revolutionize AI usage?

AI app store, revenue

At present, OpenAI maintains two major sources of revenue. The first is the $20/month ChatGPT Plus offering. The second is access to its APIs for various AI models. If OpenAI decides to charge for apps, OpenAI’s proposed AI app store could become a revenue driver for the company.

AI app store security

How OpenAI will identify and extract malicious apps from its app store has not yet been disclosed. Similarly, whether or not OpenAI will engage in moderation to keep the app store free of legal, but ethically ambiguous AI models will remain unknown.

Past initiatives

Earlier this year, OpenAI launched ChatGPT plugins, which enables users to interact with web service platforms like OpenTable, Shopify and Expedia. However, these plugins haven’t generated user attention, indicating a need on OpenAI’s part for further market research and product development.

More insights

For OpenAI, seizing the opportunity to control the distribution and commercialization of its technology may seem like a no-brainer.

Some experts have expressed concerns that prematurely launching a full-scale AI marketplace could spread the company’s staff too thin. It could also alienate partners. Given the ‘newness’ and imperfections of ChatGPT, critics suggest that the company should focus on its core product ahead of creating a new distribution channel.

For more insights into ChatGPT and the future of artificial intelligence, please see CyberTalk.org’s past coverage. Lastly, subscribe to the CyberTalk.org newsletter for executive-level interviews, analyses, reports and more each week. Subscribe here.