ChatGPT and DALL-E. What European VCs think about risks and opportunities of new AI technologies 

In November 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT, a conversational AI model based on GPT-3.5 technology. The service aroused great interest and caused a fierce debate among people from all over the world and different fields on how technological, safe, and appropriate today ChatGPT is. Despite all the concerns, the service has already acquired millions of users and continues to grow rapidly. Moreover, Microsoft’s recent $10 billion investment in OpenAI only undermines that people need to reckon with this technology, no matter whether they support or oppose its usage.

AIN.Capital talked to FIRSTPICK, Inovo VC, and Presto Ventures about OpenAI products, potential risks and opportunities of its new technologies, and found out if the funds are ready to invest in startups that are developing in this direction. 

Marijus Andrijauskas, Partner at FIRSTPICK 

OpenAI is definitely a company to keep an eye on in the tech world. Their products, like GPT-3 and DALL-E 2, are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with AI and have the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries. We think they are doing some really exciting work, and we’re even more excited to see what they come up with next.

Thinking about the potential risks and opportunities of new technologies such as ChatGPT and DALL-E 2, sure it is a powerful tool that can be used for a wide range of applications, but like any technology, they also have the potential to be misused. For example, there are concerns about the use of these tools to create deepfake videos or to spread misinformation that is a dangerous tool in the wrong arms. However, we believe that the benefits of these technologies far outweigh the risks and with the proper safeguards in place, we can minimize the potential negative impact.

“We’re always on the lookout for startups that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with AI, and we do believe that the advancements being made by companies in the AI field have the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries. Moreover, we do see some nice transitions with the startups we already invested in.”

Our portfolio companies are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve and stay competitive in their respective industries. Many of them are already using OpenAI products like GPT-3 and DALL-E 2 in a wide range of ways. For example, we have seen startups using these technologies for things like natural language processing in chatbot and virtual assistant development, content generation for marketing and sales, and even in the product development process.

We think it’s safe to say that ChatGPT and other AI technologies are going to change the future of work in a big way. I mean, let’s face it, some of us already use ChatGPT more often than Google! In all seriousness, these technologies have the potential to automate a lot of tasks and make our day more efficient. As for how fast the entire transition will happen, I think we’re already seeing the beginnings of this shift, but it will take some time for the full impact to be felt. But one thing is for sure, the future of work will be much more “AI-fied” than it is today.

Bohdan Mashtalir, Investment scout at Inovo VC

I think OpenAI is paramount for the wider adoption of AI by non-technical people. That would be the catalyst for the next wave of a digital renaissance. As with everything, OpenAI has its threats and risks in its usage. The stronger effects, the stronger are side effects. Despite all the opportunities, threats of misuse are also present. Anything from students cheating on their essays to equipping digital criminals with more efficient processes. 

“ChatGPT already has changed the way we think of certain types of work. Even though it got very popular, I expect it to follow the classic adoption curve. Players like Google will present their solutions and implement them into the tools we already use every day. At that point, almost everyone would be using ChatGPT like tools without realizing that. As of timeframe, I would give it 2 years to become truly mainstream.”

Investing in new technologies such as OpenAI and ChatGPT is the next hot thing in the world of VC to look for the next winning generative AI solutions (like Jasper & others). Much like others, Inovo VC is open to interesting opportunities within our thesis. In general, assessing those companies in the same way as any other, with no special treatment. 

Jan Romportl, Deep Tech Partner at Presto Ventures

OpenAI is one of the most important AI-focused entities in the world. We’ve been following them closely since their early legendary work in reinforcement learning (OpenAI Gym) back in 2016, followed by their Dota2-playing system OpenAI Five in 2018. They certainly earned our full attention in 2019, after the release of GPT-2. When they released GPT-3 in the spring of 2020, it was clear that they’d become the world’s number one in the new generation of Foundation Models.

The work of OpenAI has been one of the most important milestones in the development of modern AI.

Definitely, these systems pose quite serious threats – especially since uncontrolled and reality-detached online content can now be generated without any limitations. Given the current geopolitical situation and liberal democracies being endangered by cognitive warfare, this can be very dangerous.

Moreover, future versions of these Foundation Models are very likely to reshape the labor market and change social conditions of many people. We appreciate that these models are now included in the proposed EU AI Act as so-called ‘high-risk systems’, thus subject to more thorough EU regulations.

“Presto Ventures is ready to invest in startups that are developing in this direction, moreover we’ve just closed a deal with a startup in this space that is built directly on top of the original GPT-3 (i.e. already before the ChatGPT hype), working on a so-called “cognitive antivirus” – a software that helps protect human users’ minds while navigating the online space, such as reading the news or interacting on social media, in the metaverse etc. But together with that, we remain careful to avoid low-quality, quick and hyped startups – including those that started to emerge after ChatGPT.”

The generative models of AI technology and particularly ChatGPT will profoundly change many professions that are in the business of content generation – such as copywriters, graphic designers, musicians, or marketers. Eventually, it will make low-qualified or low-experienced humans in these fields professionally obsolete. Instead, these professions will become dominated by humans who are able to work in synergy with such AI tools. In other words, humans in these professions can benefit from AI, but they will need to adapt in clever ways. The same holds true for junior software developers, junior lawyer trainees, etc.

This will probably start happening as early as 1 to 3 years from now. The first ones to adapt are text-oriented professions, such as copywriters.