‘Why the hell has our competitor got this transformative capability that we don’t?’ is not a hard thought to have, especially among tech executives. I would be very surprised if there wasn’t a running battle over long-term perspectives on AI in the C-suite of both Google Brain and DeepMind.
If you do want to think along these lines though, the bigger question for me is why OpenAI released the API now, and gave concrete warning of the transformative capabilities they intend to deploy in six? twelve? months’ time. ‘Why the hell has our competitor got this transformative capability that we don’t?’ is not a hard thought now, but it that’s largely because the API was a piece of compelling evidence thrust in all of our faces.
Maybe they didn’t expect it to latch into the dev-community consciousness like it has, or for it to be quite as compelling a piece of evidence as it’s turned out to be. Maybe it just seemed like a cool thing to do and in-line with their culture. Maybe it’s an investor demo for how things will be monetised in future, which will enable the $10bn punt they need to keep abreast of Google.
I think the fact that’s it’s not a hard thought to have is not too much evidence about whether other orgs will change approach. It takes a lot to turn the ship.
Consider how easy it would be to have the thought, “Electric cars are the future, we should switch to making electric cars.” any time in the last 15 years. And yet, look at how slow traditional automakers have been to switch.
Indeed. No one seriously doubted that the future was not gas, but always at a sufficiently safe remove that they didn’t have to do anything themselves beyond a minor side R&D program, because there was no fire alarm. (“God, grant me [electrification] and [the scaling hypothesis] - but not yet!”)