With the release of ChatGPT one year ago, OpenAI introduced the world to the idea of an AI chatbot that can seemingly do anything. Now, the company is releasing a platform for making custom versions of ChatGPT for specific use cases — no coding required.
In the coming weeks, these AI agents, which OpenAI is calling GPTs, will be accessible through the GPT Store. Details about how the store will look and work are scarce for now, though OpenAI is promising to eventually pay creators an unspecified amount based on how much their GPTs are used. GPTs will be available to paying ChatGPT Plus subscribers and OpenAI enterprise customers, who can make internal-only GPTs for their employees.
Custom GPTs were announced Monday at DevDay, OpenAI’s first-ever developer conference in San Francisco, where the company also announced a turbocharged, cheaper GPT-4, lower prices for developers using its models in their apps, and the news that ChatGPT has reached a staggering 100 million weekly users.
“Since launching ChatGPT, people have been asking for ways to customize ChatGPT to fit specific ways that they use it,” OpenAI said in a statement shared with The Verge. “We launched Custom Instructions in July that let you set some preferences, but requests for more control kept coming. Many power users maintain a list of carefully crafted prompts and instruction sets, manually copying them into ChatGPT. GPTs now do all of that for you.”
During a recent demo I received of OpenAI’s GPT platform, a bot called “Creative Writing Coach” critiqued an uploaded PDF of a writing sample. Over a period of about two minutes, I watched another GPT be spun up to help attendees navigate DevDay. The platform auto-named the bot “Event Navigator,” generated a profile picture for it using DALL-E, and ingested a PDF attachment with the event’s schedule to inform its answers.
OpenAI’s interface lets you guide how you want a GPT to interact with people before you publish. The DevDay Event Navigator agent I saw during my demo was instructed to be helpful and concise and to avoid scheduling conflicts. OpenAI autogenerated several conversation starter prompts, such as “What’s the first session today?”
Each GPT can be granted access to web browsing, DALL-E, and OpenAI’s Code Interpreter tool for writing and executing software. There’s also a “Knowledge” section in the builder interface for uploading custom data, like the DevDay event schedule. With another feature called Actions, OpenAI is letting GPTs hook into external services for accessing data like emails, databases, and more, starting with Canva and Zapier.
The introduction of custom GPTs means that OpenAI is now competing with other AI bot platforms like Character.AI and Meta, which recently introduced a slew of its own AI personas in WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. OpenAI is positioning its platform as being more utility-focused than its competitors, rather than emphasizing bots that act like people, though it isn’t against people building GPTs with human-like personas.
OpenAI is now competing with other AI bot platforms like Character.AI and Meta
The creators of GPTs won’t be able to view the chats people are having with them, and it’s unclear what high-level usage data they’ll get access to. OpenAI says it will be monitoring activity to block things like fraud, hate speech, and “adult themes.” When the GPT Store launches down the road, OpenAI will only accept agents from people who have verified their identity. Initially, GPTs will be accessible through shareable web links.
Ultimately, OpenAI sees its GPT platform as bringing it one step closer to its main goal: the creation of an AI superintelligence, or AGI. Restricting access to paid subscribers should also help juice the company’s already rapidly accelerating revenue as it reportedly seeks a valuation from investors of up to $90 billion.