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When is GPT-5 coming out? Sam Altman isn’t ready to say

Published Mar 19th, 2024 3:04PM EDT
OpenAI DevDay keynote: ChatGPT usage this year.
Image: YouTube

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Anthropic just unveiled Claude 3.0 and Google launched its Gemini 1.5 upgrade, though only the former is available to fans of generative AI tools. Meanwhile, OpenAI has been relatively quiet if you ignore the incredibly impressive text-to-video Sora service the company is testing. GPT-5 is still a mystery, and OpenAI isn’t ready to talk about it.

Sam Altman addressed questions about GPT-5 in a wide-ranging interview about AI. As you’d expect from a CEO who has to tread the waters carefully, he was mostly non-committal. On the one hand, he might want to tease the future of ChatGPT, as that’s the nature of his job. On the other hand, he has to ensure he doesn’t jump the gun.

While Altman did not provide a GPT-5 release timeframe, he did say that OpenAI has plenty of things to release in the coming months.

As a guest on the Lex Fridman Podcast, Sam Altman said that the “honest answer” about GPT-5’s release date is that he doesn’t know.

Anyone following ChatGPT closely remembers rumors about GPT-5 potentially reaching AGI or the level of AI that can reason as well as a human. AGI talk intensified around Sam Altman’s brief ousting as CEO. Reports at the time speculated on what OpenAI might have developed internally. Altman did hype the recent work at the company in the days leading to his firing.

This could explain his desire to be careful about driving up hype. But Altman did say that OpenAI will release “an amazing model this year” without giving it a name or a release window.

He said he doesn’t know what OpenAI will call it, and it’ll be interesting to see if a rebrand is in the works. We saw Bing Chat become Copilot in the past few months. Google also rebranded its Bard assistant and basically everything else genAI-related to Gemini.

Sora is OpenAI's new AI text-to-video generator.
Sora is OpenAI’s new AI text-to-video generator. Image source: OpenAI

As a user, I say ChatGPT is so ubiquitous that it doesn’t need a new name. The same goes for the current way of numbering GPT models that OpenAI uses. But the company could have different plans.

Altman also said that OpenAI will release “many different things” this year. Again, without naming them. We know Sora is coming out in the coming months, so that’s one thing OpenAI might release before GPT-5. 

The CEO conceded that OpenAI has “a lot of other important things to release” before they can talk about a GPT-5 model.

Later in the interview, Altman was asked what aspects of the upgrade from GPT-4 to GPT-5 he’s most excited about, even if he can’t share specifics. He said that he’s excited about ChatGPT being smarter. “I know that sounds like a glib answer, but I think the really special thing happening is that it’s not like it gets better in this one area and worse in others. It’s getting like better across the board,” he said.

Altman also noted that GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo “kind of suck” relative to where genAI needs to be. The upgrade from GPT-4 to GPT-5 will feel just as big as from GPT-3 to GPT-4.

“I think it is our job to live a few years in the future and remember that the tools we have now are going to suck looking backwards at them. And that’s how we make sure the future is better,” Altman said. You can watch/listen to the full interview before.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.