OpenAI reveals location of its first international outpost

OpenAI, the mastermind behind ChatGPT, is gearing up to establish an office in London, marking its inaugural location beyond the borders of the U.S.

This Microsoft-supported venture has garnered substantial recognition since the introduction of its AI-driven chatbot, ChatGPT, in November. The text-based tool has left a profound impression on many by adeptly executing an array of tasks and engaging in conversations that closely mimic human interactions.

Based in San Francisco, OpenAI is now poised to extend its influence, establishing a presence in a city already hosting a burgeoning cluster of AI system developers, including the well-funded DeepMind from Google. In a communication posted on its website, OpenAI characterizes its inaugural international office as a “landmark in OpenAI’s expansion.” This move is anticipated to widen the horizons of its endeavors, expose it to diverse viewpoints, and expedite its mission to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI)—a more advanced iteration of AI with human-like learning and thinking capabilities—serves the betterment of society.

According to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, this expansion offers a platform to “attract top-tier talent and propel innovation in AGI advancement and policy.” He further elaborated that the London office will contribute to the pursuit of “constructing and implementing secure AI.”

The company’s declaration follows only a few weeks after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak underscored the urgency during a technology conference in London for the nation to act swiftly to “safeguard our status as one of the globe’s tech hubs.”

Beyond the wealth of local talent cultivated by esteemed universities and AI startups situated in the U.K., OpenAI might also have been drawn by the anticipation that the U.K. will adopt a lenient stance on regulating the swiftly evolving technology. This stance has been highlighted by the recent commitment to a “pro-innovation approach.” Conversely, the European Union seems poised to adopt a more stringent stance, as evidenced by its AI Act. Altman recently indicated that if OpenAI cannot adhere to the EU’s forthcoming regulations, the company would cease operations there, though he subsequently attempted to temper those statements.

OpenAI has yet to specify the timeline for inaugurating its London office or the number of staff it will employ. However, the company has already advertised four positions for its new location, including a security engineer and a head of U.K. policy.

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