"Many startups just died today."
OpenAI has emerged as one of the forerunners in the ongoing AI race, building on the immense popularity of its AI chatbot ChatGPT to gaining a tremendous amount of influence in the burgeoning industry.
Now, the company has sent out a clear message to other startups in its ecosystem: if you're using OpenAI's products to make a buck, we might soon rip the rug out from under your feet.
Specifically, OpenAI released a new update to ChatGPT over the weekend that allows subscribers to upload PDFs to ChatGPT Plus, letting the chatbot summarize their content. While that may be a boon to office workers who are saddled with poring over endless PDFs, Insider points out that the move is a death stroke for businesses that have built products that use OpenAI's system to help customers process PDFs.
It's a stark reminder that Big Tech's decisions can easily vaporize smaller players — perhaps more so than ever in the ever-shifting field of AI entrepreneurship.
"Many startups just died today," Alex Ker, founder of AI incubator P-ai, tweeted. "It's a rough world out there."
In a LinkedIn post, product lead at payments giant Stripe Sahar Mor issued a dire warning.
"OpenAI just executed a move that will wipe out dozens of AI companies," he wrote, referring to "wrapper" companies that heavily rely on APIs, programming interfaces that allow developers to programs to talk to each other.
Other businesses that had tied their product to OpenAI's were distraught as well.
"We're one of the 'victims' hit by this update," Alex Reibman, a data scientist who built a ChatGPT plugin that allows users to scan PDFs, tweeted.
In a poll, Reibman gauged whether people were willing to continue using his tool over OpenAI's. The vast majority answered that his plugin will "see less usage."
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