fwd: The AI App Store is here
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This week's take: OpenAI is launching an 'App Store' and that creates both opportunities and risks.
We never planned for our newsletter to become GPT-central. But then again, we never witnessed a technological changing-of-the-guard in a matter of weeks, so here we are.
This week, OpenAI announced the first Plugins for ChatGPT. Integrations with OpenTable or Expedia help users access up-to-date travel or restaurant information, and more. What to make of this?
In a way, it seems almost anachronistic. We’ve just been introduced to this seemingly all-knowing, omnipotent being. Only to discover that it needs sidekicks to truly deliver. It’s almost as if the last generation of assistants is making a comeback. Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa (and their integrations) but with true natural language capabilities (of large language models).
We’ve just been introduced to this seemingly all-knowing, omnipotent being. Only to discover that it needs sidekicks to truly deliver.
Taking off my historian hat (an Indy-like fedora, obviously), and putting on my business cap (a jewelled crown, obviously), it’s clear we’re seeing OpenAI pull a platform play.
At first, OpenAI intended ChatGPT (like DALL-E before it) as a tech demo, allowing the world to interface with its unique underlying technology. With over 57 million users within a month, it quickly realised that ChatGPT had become a destination in itself. And what do you do when you’ve got the hottest product on the block? You let others build on top of it.
Et voila: a platform is born.
If ChatGPT is AI’s iPhone moment, it’s clear that Plugins are the equivalent of the App Store. Hundreds of millions of excited users, ready to engage with.
Back with the brown fedora: if the history of mobile has taught us one thing, it’s that we should brace for a Cambrian explosion in experiences and interactions. But don't go cheering in the streets just yet. With great potential come hard choices.
It can be tempting to flock to the new popular platform. But that will ultimately put you at the whims of King ChatGPT and how it operates the platform.
Mobile has also taught us the risks associated with platforms. It can be tempting to flock to the new popular platform. To make sure you’re present there, and capitalise on the audience. But, that will ultimately put you at the whims of King ChatGPT, and how it operates the platform. Just ask Meta or Snap how they like Apple’s walled garden, especially when the gatekeeper changes the rules along the way.
Luckily this time, there is another way. Mobile platforms came with excellent building blocks. And with rules. Recent breakthroughs in AI have put even more incredible technology at our fingertips. But more choice than ever before on where we want to play.
So yes, you can start working on your own Plugin and cosy up on the ChatGPT platform. Or you can inject your own products with GPT, or even build entirely new ones. The choice is yours.
Either way: put on your inventor hat, and tinker away!