Timeline of OpenAI

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This is a timeline of OpenAI. OpenAI is a non-profit safety-conscious artificial intelligence capabilities company.

Big picture

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.

Full timeline

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".[1][2]
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".[3]
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)".[4][5]
2015 June Background Sam Altman and Greg Brockman have a conversation about next steps for Brockman.[6]
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.[7]
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.[6]
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.)[8][9][10]
2016 January Staff Ilya Sutskever joins OpenAI as Research Director.[11]
2016 January 9 The OpenAI research team does an AMA ("ask me anything") on r/MachineLearning, the subreddit dedicated to machine learning.[12]
2016 March 31 Staff A blog post from this day announces that Ian Goodfellow has joined OpenAI.[13]
2016 April 26 Staff A blog post from this day announces that Pieter Abbeel has joined OpenAI.[14]
2016 April 27 Software The public beta of OpenAI Gym, an open source toolkit that provides environments to test AI bots, is released.[15][16][17]
2016 June 21 Publication "Concrete Problems in AI Safety" is submitted to the arXiv.[18]
2016 July Staff Dario Amodei joins OpenAI.[19]
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.[20]
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.[21][22][23]
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.[24][25]
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.[26][27][28][29]
2017 January Staff Paul Christiano joins OpenAI to work on AI alignment.[30] He was previously an intern at OpenAI in 2016.[31]
2017 March Financial The Open Philanthropy Project awards a grant of $30 million to OpenAI for general support.[32] 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.[33] The grant is criticized by Maciej Cegłowski[34] and Benjamin Hoffman (who would write the blog post "OpenAI makes humanity less safe")[35][36][37] among others.[38]
2017 April An article entitled "The People Behind OpenAI" is published on Red Hat's Open Source Stories website, covering work at OpenAI.[39][40][41]
2017 April 6 Publication "Learning to Generate Reviews and Discovering Sentiment" is published.[42]
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.[43]
2017 May 24 Software OpenAI releases Baselines, a set of implementations of reinforcement learning algorithms.[44][45]
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.[46][47][48]
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.[49]
2017 August 12 OpenAI's Dota 2 bot beats Danil "Dendi" Ishutin, a professional human player, (and possibly others?) in one-on-one battles.[50][51][52]
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.[53]
2017 September 13 Publication "Learning with Opponent-Learning Awareness" is first uploaded to the arXiv.[54][55]
2017 October 11 Software RoboSumo, a game that simulates sumo wrestling for AI to learn to play, is released.[56][57]
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.[58]
2017 December Publication The 2017 AI Index is published. OpenAI contributed to the report.[59]
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.[60][61][62][63][64]
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.[65][63]
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.[66][67]
2018 April 5 – June 5 The OpenAI Retro Contest takes place.[68][69] As a result of the release of the Gym Retro library, OpenAI's Universe become deprecated.[70]
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.[71][72][73][74][75]
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).[76][77][78]
2018 May 2 Publication The paper "AI safety via debate" by Geoffrey Irving, Paul Christiano, and Dario Amodei is uploaded to the arXiv.[79][80]
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.[81] 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.[82][83]
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.[85][86][87]
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.[88][89]
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.[90][91][92][93]
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.[94][95]
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.[96][97][98]
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.[100]
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.[101]
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.[102][103]
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.[104][105][106]
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.[107]
2019 April 27 OpenAI hosts the OpenAI Robotics Symposium 2019.[108]

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

See also

External links


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