When OpenAI, the San Francisco-based company developing artificial intelligence tools, announced the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, former Facebook and Oculus employee Daniel Habib acted swiftly.

Within four days of ChatGPT’s launch, Habib utilized the chatbot to create QuickVid AI, a system that automates much of the creative process involved in generating ideas for YouTube videos. Creators provide details about their video’s topic and desired category, and QuickVid AI interacts with ChatGPT to produce a script. Other generative AI tools then transform the script into voiceovers and visuals.

Tens of thousands of users started using it daily, but Habib had been relying on unofficial access points to ChatGPT, limiting his ability to promote the service officially and charge for it. This changed on March 1, when OpenAI announced the release of API access to ChatGPT and Whisper, a speech recognition AI developed by the company. Within an hour, Habib connected QuickVid to the official ChatGPT API.

“All of these unofficial tools that were essentially toys, confined to your personal sandbox, have now become accessible to a large user base,” he explains.

OpenAI’s announcement could mark the beginning of a new AI boom. What was previously a cottage industry of hobbyists operating in a legal gray area can now transform their tinkering into fully-fledged businesses.

Hassan El Mghari, who operates TwitterBio, a service that utilizes ChatGPT’s computational power to generate Twitter profile text for users, believes that this release makes it much more accessible and cost-effective for companies to integrate AI capabilities into their applications.

OpenAI has also modified its data retention policy, which may alleviate concerns for businesses considering experimentation with ChatGPT. The company now commits to retaining users’ data for only 30 days and pledges not to use data input by users to train its models.

According to David Foster, a partner at Applied Data Science Partners, a data science and AI consultancy in London, this policy change is “crucial” for encouraging companies to use the API. Foster believes that the fear of personal client information or critical business data being absorbed into ChatGPT’s training models had previously deterred adoption of the tool. “It demonstrates OpenAI’s commitment to saying, ‘You can now use this for your company without risk. You won’t find your company’s data incorporated into that general model,'” he remarks.

This shift empowers companies to maintain control over their data rather than relying on a third party, OpenAI, to manage its usage and dissemination, according to Foster. “Effectively, you were building this on someone else’s infrastructure, following someone else’s data usage policy,” he adds.

When combined with the decreasing cost of accessing large language models, this change is likely to lead to a proliferation of AI chatbots in the near future.

API access to ChatGPT (or officially, GPT3.5) costs only one-tenth of what it costs to access OpenAI’s less powerful GPT3 API, launched in June 2020. GPT3.5 offers greater conversational capabilities compared to its predecessor.

“It’s much more cost-effective and faster,” notes Alex Volkov, the founder of Targum, a language translator for videos developed unofficially using ChatGPT during a December 2022 hackathon. “That’s not something you usually see in the API world, where prices tend to rise.”

This shift could reshape the economics of AI for many businesses and ignite a new wave of innovation.

“It’s an incredible time to be a founder,” says QuickVid’s Habib. “Due to its affordability and ease of integration, nearly every app will incorporate some form of chat interface or large language model integration. People will need to become accustomed to interacting with AI.

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