Timeline of OpenAI
This is a timeline of OpenAI. OpenAI is a non-profit safety-conscious artificial intelligence capabilities company.
|Time period||Development summary||More details|
|2014–2015||Background||Nick Bostrom's book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, about the dangers of superhuman machine intelligence, is published. Soon after the book's publication, Elon Musk and Sam Altman, the two people who would become co-chairs and initial donors of OpenAI, publicly state their concern of superhuman machine intelligence.|
|2015||Establishment||OpenAI is founded as a nonprofit and begins producing research.|
|2019||Restructure||OpenAI shifts from nonprofit to ‘capped-profit’ with the purpose to attract capital.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|2014||October 22–24||Background||During an interview at the AeroAstro Centennial Symposium, Elon Musk, who would later become co-chair of OpenAI, calls artificial intelligence humanity's "biggest existential threat".|
|2015||February 25||Background||Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator who would later become a co-chair of OpenAI, publishes a blog post in which he writes that the development of superhuman AI is "probably the greatest threat to the continued existence of humanity".|
|2015||May 6||Background||Greg Brockman, who would become CTO of OpenAI, announces in a blog post that he is leaving his role as CTO of Stripe. In the post, in the section "What comes next" he writes "I haven't decided exactly what I'll be building (feel free to ping if you want to chat)".|
|2015||June||Background||Sam Altman and Greg Brockman have a conversation about next steps for Brockman.|
|2015||June 4||Background||At Airbnb's Open Air 2015 conference, Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator who would later become a co-chair of OpenAI, states his concern for advanced artificial intelligence and shares that he recently invested in a company doing AI safety research.|
|2015||July (approximate)||Background||Sam Altman sets up a dinner in Menlo Park, California to talk about starting an organization to do AI research. Attendees include Greg Brockman, Dario Amodei, Chris Olah, Paul Christiano, Ilya Sutskever, and Elon Musk.|
|2015||December 11||OpenAI is announced to the public. (The news articles from this period make it sound like OpenAI launched sometime after this date.)|
|2016||January||Staff||Ilya Sutskever joins OpenAI as Research Director.|
|2016||January 9||The OpenAI research team does an AMA ("ask me anything") on r/MachineLearning, the subreddit dedicated to machine learning.|
|2016||March 31||Staff||A blog post from this day announces that Ian Goodfellow has joined OpenAI.|
|2016||April 26||Staff||A blog post from this day announces that Pieter Abbeel has joined OpenAI.|
|2016||April 27||Software||The public beta of OpenAI Gym, an open source toolkit that provides environments to test AI bots, is released.|
|2016||June 21||Publication||"Concrete Problems in AI Safety" is submitted to the arXiv.|
|2016||July||Staff||Dario Amodei joins OpenAI.|
|2016||July 8||Publication||"Adversarial Examples in the Physical World" is published. One of the authors is Ian Goodfellow, who is at OpenAI at the time.|
|2016||August 15||The technology company Nvidia announces that it has donated the first Nvidia DGX-1 (a supercomputer) to OpenAI. OpenAI plans to use the supercomputer to train its AI on a corpus of conversations from Reddit.|
|2016||November 15||A partnership between OpenAI and Microsoft's artificial intelligence division is announced. As part of the partnership, Microsoft provides a price reduction on computing resources to OpenAI through Microsoft Azure.|
|2016||December 5||Software||OpenAI's Universe, "a software platform for measuring and training an AI's general intelligence across the world's supply of games, websites and other applications", is released.|
|2017||January||Staff||Paul Christiano joins OpenAI to work on AI alignment. He was previously an intern at OpenAI in 2016.|
|2017||March||Financial||The Open Philanthropy Project awards a grant of $30 million to OpenAI for general support. The grant initiates a partnership between Open Philanthropy Project and OpenAI, in which Holden Karnofsky (executive director of Open Philanthropy Project) joins OpenAI's board of directors to oversee OpenAI's safety and governance work. The grant is criticized by Maciej Cegłowski and Benjamin Hoffman (who would write the blog post "OpenAI makes humanity less safe") among others.|
|2017||April||An article entitled "The People Behind OpenAI" is published on Red Hat's Open Source Stories website, covering work at OpenAI.|
|2017||April 6||Publication||"Learning to Generate Reviews and Discovering Sentiment" is published.|
|2017||April 6||OpenAI unveils reuse of an old field called “neuroevolution”, and a subset of algorithms from it called “evolution strategies,” which are aimed at solving optimization problems. In one hour training on an Atari challenge, an algorithm is found to reach a level of mastery that took a reinforcement-learning system published by DeepMind in 2016 a whole day to learn. On the walking problem the system took 10 minutes, compared to 10 hours for DeepMind's approach.|
|2017||May 24||Software||OpenAI releases Baselines, a set of implementations of reinforcement learning algorithms.|
|2017||June 12||Publication||"Deep reinforcement learning from human preferences" is first uploaded to the arXiv. The paper is a collaboration between researchers at OpenAI and Google DeepMind.|
|2017||June||Partnership||OpenAi partners with DeepMind’s safety team in the development of an algorithm which can infer what humans want by being told which of two proposed behaviors is better. The learning algorithm uses small amounts of human feedback to solve modern reinforcement learning environments.|
|2017||August 12||OpenAI's Dota 2 bot beats Danil "Dendi" Ishutin, a professional human player, (and possibly others?) in one-on-one battles.|
|2017||August 13||The New York Times publishes a story covering the AI safety work (by Dario Amodei, Geoffrey Irving, and Paul Christiano) at OpenAI.|
|2017||September 13||Publication||"Learning with Opponent-Learning Awareness" is first uploaded to the arXiv.|
|2017||October 11||Software||RoboSumo, a game that simulates sumo wrestling for AI to learn to play, is released.|
|2017||November 6||Staff||The New York Times reports that Pieter Abbeel (a researcher at OpenAI) and three other researchers from Berkeley and OpenAI have left to start their own company called Embodied Intelligence.|
|2017||December||Publication||The 2017 AI Index is published. OpenAI contributed to the report.|
|2018||February 20||Publication||The report "The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation" is published. The report forecasts malicious use of artificial intelligence in the short term and makes recommendations on how to mitigate these risks from AI. The report is authored by individuals at Future of Humanity Institute, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, OpenAI, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for a New American Security, and other institutions.|
|2018||February 20||OpenAI announces changes in donors and advisors. New donors are: Jed McCaleb, Gabe Newell, Michael Seibel, Jaan Tallinn, and Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton. Reid Hoffman is "significantly increasing his contribution". Pieter Abbeel (previously at OpenAI), Julia Galef, and Maran Nelson become advisors. Elon Musk departs the board but remains as a donor and advisor.|
|2018||March 3||OpenAI hosts its first hackathon. Applicants include high schoolers, industry practitioners, engineers, researchers at universities, and others, with interests spanning healthcare to AGI.|
|2018||April 5 – June 5||The OpenAI Retro Contest takes place. As a result of the release of the Gym Retro library, OpenAI's Universe become deprecated.|
|2018||April 9||OpenAI releases a charter. The charter says in part that OpenAI commits to stop competing with a value-aligned and safety-conscious project that comes close to building artificial general intelligence, and also that OpenAI expects to reduce its traditional publishing in the future due to safety concerns.|
|2018||April 19||Financial||The New York Times publishes a story detailing the salaries of researchers at OpenAI, using information from OpenAI's 2016 Form 990. The salaries include $1.9 million paid to Ilya Sutskever and $800,000 paid to Ian Goodfellow (hired in March of that year).|
|2018||May 2||Publication||The paper "AI safety via debate" by Geoffrey Irving, Paul Christiano, and Dario Amodei is uploaded to the arXiv.|
|2018||June 25||OpenAI announces set of AI algorithms able to hold their own as a team of five and defeat human amateur players at Dota 2, a multiplayer online battle arena video game popular in e-sports for its complexity and necessity for teamwork. In the algorithmic A team, called OpenAI Five, each algorithm uses a neural network to learn both how to play the game, and how to cooperate with its AI teammates.|
|2018||June 26||Notable comment|| Bill Gates comments on Twitter: |
AI bots just beat humans at the video game Dota 2. That’s a big deal, because their victory required teamwork and collaboration – a huge milestone in advancing artificial intelligence.
|2018||July 18||Commitment||Elon Musk, along with other tech leaders, sign a pledge promising to not develop “lethal autonomous weapons.” They also call on governments to institute laws against such technology. The pledge is organized by the Future of Life Institute, an outreach group focused on tackling existential risks.|
|2018||July 30||AI development||OpenAI announces a robotics system that can manipulate objects with humanlike dexterity. The system is able to develop these behaviors all on its own. It uses a reinforcement model, where the AI learns through trial and error, to direct robot hands in grasping and manipulating objects with great precision.|
|2018||August 7||Algorithmic team OpenAI Five defeats a team of semi-professional Dota 2 players ranked in the 99.95th percentile in the world, in their second public match in the traditional five-versus-five settings, hosted in San Francisco.|
|2018||November 1||OpenAI publishes research paper detailing AI able to defeat humans at the retro platformer Montezuma’s Revenge. The top-performing iteration found 22 of the 24 rooms in the first level, and occasionally discovered all 24.|
|2018||November 8||OpenAI launches Spinning Up, an educational resource designed to teach anyone deep reinforcement learning. The program consists of crystal-clear examples of RL code, educational exercises, documentation, and tutorials.|
|2018||November 9|| Ilya Sutskever gives speech at the AI Frontiers Conference in San Jose, and declares: |
We (OpenAI) have reviewed progress in the field over the past six years. Our conclusion is near term AGI should be taken as a serious possibility.
|2018||November 19||Partnership||OpenAI partners with DeepMind in a new paper that proposes a new method to train reinforcement learning agents in ways that enables them to surpass human performance. The paper, titled Reward learning from human preferences and demonstrations in Atari, introduces a training model that combines human feedback and reward optimization to maximize the knowledge of RL agents.|
|2019||February 14||AI development||OpenAI unveils its language-generating system called GPT-2, a system able to write the news, answer reading comprehension problems, and is beginning to show promise at tasks like translation.|
|2019||March 11||Organization||OpenAI announces the creation of OpenAI LP, a new “capped-profit” company owned and controlled by the OpenAI nonprofit organization’s board of directors. The new company is purposed to allow OpenAI to rapidly increase their investments in compute and talent while including checks and balances to actualize their mission.|
|2019||April 23||AI development||OpenAI announces Sparse Transformers, a deep neural network for learning sequences of data, including text, sound, and images. It utilizes an improved algorithm based on the attention mechanism, being able to extract patterns from sequences 30 times longer than possible previously.|
|2019||April 25||AI development||OpenAI announces MuseNet, a deep neural network able to generate 4-minute musical compositions with 10 different instruments, and can combine multiple styles from country to Mozart to The Beatles. The neural network uses general-purpose unsupervised technology.|
|2019||April 27||OpenAI hosts the OpenAI Robotics Symposium 2019.|
Meta information on the timeline
How the timeline was built
The initial version of the timeline was written by Issa Rice.
Funding information for this timeline is available.
What the timeline is still missing
Timeline update strategy
- https://blog.openai.com/ (but check to see if the announcement of a blog post is covered by other sources)
- Timeline of DeepMind
- Timeline of Future of Humanity Institute
- Timeline of Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
- Samuel Gibbs (October 27, 2014). "Elon Musk: artificial intelligence is our biggest existential threat". The Guardian. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- "AeroAstro Centennial Webcast". Retrieved July 25, 2017.
The high point of the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department's 2014 Centennial celebration is the October 22-24 Centennial Symposium
- "Machine intelligence, part 1". Sam Altman. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
- Brockman, Greg (May 6, 2015). "Leaving Stripe". Greg Brockman on Svbtle. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
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- "My path to OpenAI". Greg Brockman on Svbtle. May 3, 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
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The organization, to be named OpenAI, will be established as a nonprofit, and will be based in San Francisco.
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- "Inside OpenAI, Elon Musk's Wild Plan to Set Artificial Intelligence Free". WIRED. April 27, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
This morning, OpenAI will release its first batch of AI software, a toolkit for building artificially intelligent systems by way of a technology called "reinforcement learning"
- Shead, Sam (April 28, 2016). "Elon Musk's $1 billion AI company launches a 'gym' where developers train their computers". Business Insider. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- "[1606.06565] Concrete Problems in AI Safety". June 21, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- "Dario Amodei - Research Scientist @ OpenAI". Crunchbase. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
- Metz, Cade (July 29, 2016). "How To Fool AI Into Seeing Something That Isn't There". WIRED. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- "NVIDIA Brings DGX-1 AI Supercomputer in a Box to OpenAI". The Official NVIDIA Blog. August 15, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- Vanian, Jonathan (August 15, 2016). "Nvidia Just Gave A Supercomputer to Elon Musk-backed Artificial Intelligence Group". Fortune. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- De Jesus, Cecille (August 17, 2016). "Elon Musk's OpenAI is Using Reddit to Teach An Artificial Intelligence How to Speak". Futurism. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- Statt, Nick (November 15, 2016). "Microsoft is partnering with Elon Musk's OpenAI to protect humanity's best interests". The Verge. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- Metz, Cade. "The Next Big Front in the Battle of the Clouds Is AI Chips. And Microsoft Just Scored a Win". WIRED. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
According to Altman and Harry Shum, head of Microsoft new AI and research group, OpenAI's use of Azure is part of a larger partnership between the two companies. In the future, Altman and Shum tell WIRED, the two companies may also collaborate on research. "We're exploring a couple of specific projects," Altman says. "I'm assuming something will happen there." That too will require some serious hardware.
- "universe". GitHub. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- John Mannes (December 5, 2016). "OpenAI's Universe is the fun parent every artificial intelligence deserves". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- "Elon Musk's Lab Wants to Teach Computers to Use Apps Just Like Humans Do". WIRED. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- "OpenAI Universe". Hacker News. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "AI Alignment". Paul Christiano. May 13, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
- "Team Update". OpenAI Blog. March 22, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
- "Open Philanthropy Project donations made (filtered to cause areas matching AI safety)". Retrieved July 27, 2017.
- "OpenAI — General Support". Open Philanthropy Project. December 15, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
- "Pinboard on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
What the actual fuck… “Open Philanthropy” dude gives a $30M grant to his roommate / future brother-in-law. Trumpy!
- "OpenAI makes humanity less safe". Compass Rose. April 13, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
- "OpenAI makes humanity less safe". LessWrong. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
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- Naik, Vipul. "I'm having a hard time understanding the rationale...". Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- Simoneaux, Brent; Stegman, Casey. "Open Source Stories: The People Behind OpenAI". Retrieved May 5, 2018. In the HTML source, last-publish-date is shown as Tue, 25 Apr 2017 04:00:00 GMT as of 2018-05-05.
- "Profile of the people behind OpenAI • r/OpenAI". reddit. April 7, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
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- "OpenAI Just Beat Google DeepMind at Atari With an Algorithm From the 80s". singularityhub.com. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- "OpenAI Baselines: DQN". OpenAI Blog. November 28, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "openai/baselines". GitHub. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "[1706.03741] Deep reinforcement learning from human preferences". Retrieved March 2, 2018.
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- "Two Giants of AI Team Up to Head Off the Robot Apocalypse". WIRED. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
A new paper from the two organizations on a machine learning system that uses pointers from humans to learn a new task, rather than figuring out its own—potentially unpredictable—approach, follows through on that. Amodei says the project shows it's possible to do practical work right now on making machine learning systems less able to produce nasty surprises.
- "Learning from Human Preferences". openai.com. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- Jordan Crook (August 12, 2017). "OpenAI bot remains undefeated against world's greatest Dota 2 players". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- "Did Elon Musk's AI champ destroy humans at video games? It's complicated". The Verge. August 14, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
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- Cade Metz (August 13, 2017). "Teaching A.I. Systems to Behave Themselves". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "[1709.04326] Learning with Opponent-Learning Awareness". Retrieved March 2, 2018.
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- "AI Sumo Wrestlers Could Make Future Robots More Nimble". WIRED. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- Appolonia, Alexandra; Gmoser, Justin (October 20, 2017). "Elon Musk's artificial intelligence company created virtual robots that can sumo wrestle and play soccer". Business Insider. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
- Cade Metz (November 6, 2017). "A.I. Researchers Leave Elon Musk Lab to Begin Robotics Start-Up". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- Vincent, James (December 1, 2017). "Artificial intelligence isn't as clever as we think, but that doesn't stop it being a threat". The Verge. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- "[1802.07228] The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation". Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- "Preparing for Malicious Uses of AI". OpenAI Blog. February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- Malicious AI Report. "The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence". Malicious AI Report. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- "Elon Musk leaves board of AI safety group to avoid conflict of interest with Tesla". The Verge. February 21, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- Simonite, Tom. "Why Artificial Intelligence Researchers Should Be More Paranoid". WIRED. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
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- "Report from the OpenAI Hackathon". OpenAI Blog. March 15, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- "OpenAI Retro Contest". OpenAI. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
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- "openai/universe". GitHub. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
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- Locklear, Mallory. "DeepMind, Elon Musk and others pledge not to make autonomous AI weapons". engadget.com. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
- Quach, Katyanna. "Elon Musk, his arch nemesis DeepMind swear off AI weapons". theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
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