|Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, speaks during a meeting with startup leaders and journalists in Korea at 63 Square in Yeouido, Seoul, Friday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul|
'Father of ChatGPT' visits Korea to share thoughts on AI industry
By Baek Byung-yeul
Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of U.S.-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology company OpenAI, is very interested in Korean startups developing services using his company's generative AI platform ChatGPT, he said Friday, adding the U.S. firm would like to collaborate more with them in many areas.
"We love to support people building on our platform. Some of our team here today is happy to help with that. We're exploring investing more in Korean startups. And we'd be very excited to explore joint chip corporations to develop AI accelerators," Altman said during a meeting with 130 local startup leaders and journalists here at the 63 Square in Yeouido, Seoul.
"We would be delighted to host Korean startups in the United States. We'll also be really excited to meet as many as we can here today. And I think this kind of collaboration is essential to our work."
|Minister of SMES and Startups Lee Young, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman participate in a meeting with local startup leaders and journalists at 63 Square in Yeouido, Seoul, Friday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul|
OpenAI has wowed the world since it released the 3.5 version of its generative AI service ChatGPT last November, showing everyone that AI is already changing the world. From helping users find what they are searching for to supporting their creative work, it has been clear that AI is going to make a huge difference in our daily lives.
To talk to world leaders about the world that AI will change and the threats the technology may pose, Altman has been traveling the world this year, for what he calls the "OpenAI Tour 2023." In May, he visited Europe to meet lawmakers and leaders to discuss the future opportunities and possible threats of AI. He also has visited Israel, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and India.
Altman and OpenAI executives came to Korea after being invited by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. Minister Lee Young emceed the meeting to share the purpose of his visit to Korea, his plans to collaborate with Korean companies, advice for younger founders and prospects of the AI industry.
As to advice for startup founders in the AI field, Altman encouraged more adventurers to launch their businesses because he and they are in the middle of the same revolution as when the internet started.
"I love startups. So I'm happy that people are working with them. I think that the talent in Korea, that companies that have already created here at the entrepreneurial energy, it's quite remarkable and unique assets that you get to start with now," Altman said.
"I think the next three years will probably be the greatest startup opportunity since the internet … So I would encourage everyone who's interested in startup business, this is the time to do it. And I'm sure people will bill just for the incredible things."
|OpenAI President Greg Brockman, left, Minister of SMES and Startups Lee Young, center, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman participate in a meeting with startup leaders and journalists in Korea at 63 Square in Yeouido, Seoul, Friday. Yonhap|
When asked about possible collaborations with not only startups but also big companies here such as Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor Group or LG Electronics, Altman responded positively. "(It) is one of the few countries in the world with a lot of the assets to make real progress. So we're very excited to explore that," he said.
Lee also introduced Greg Brockman, co-founder and president of OpenAI, who has a Korean wife, and said she wanted to ensure that his special connection to Korea continues.
Brockman said Korea has semiconductor technology, which is one of the most important parts of the AI era, and there is a government that strongly wants to develop this industry.
"AI technology is starting to blossom across the globe and I think that Korea really can be a leading force in helping develop. Korea has a long history of being a leader in technology on the lifeblood of AI and deep learning, its chips, its compute power. That's something that Korea is extremely well positioned," he said. "The fact that the government clearly wants to support it right, wants to help you also see that something that could give you a lot of excitement, make you feel special."
|President Yoon Suk Yeol shakes hands with Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, at the presidential office in central Seoul's Yongsan District, Friday. Yonhap|
In the afternoon, the OpenAI founders also met with President Yoon Suk Yeol to talk about cooperating with Korean companies and preparation for international AI rules.
During the meeting Yoon told the CEO that he also has tried ChatGPT.
"There is a ChatGPT craze all over the world. As a test, I asked ChatGPT questions while writing my New Year's speech, and the results were quite plausible," the president said.
In response, Altman thanked Yoon for trying out the company's product. "Korea is not only one of the largest users of ChatGPT in the world, but also a nation that has the technology base for ChatGPT to develop," he told the president.
The CEO added that Korea already has lots of assets for AI to develop such as semiconductor manufacturing capabilities and startups capable of competing on the global stage.