In a recent podcast interview with Trevor Noah, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman expressed his dissatisfaction with the name “ChatGPT,” despite the language model’s widespread success. Altman humorously acknowledged that the name is “horrible,” and he jokingly asked Noah for alternative suggestions. He even considered shortening it to just “GPT” or “Chat.”
Altman, while admitting the less-than-ideal choice of the name, recognized the challenge of changing a well-established brand. He said, “It’s a horrible name, but it may be too ubiquitous to ever change,” suggesting that despite its shortcomings, the name might stick.
ChatGPT, launched in November 2022, had a relatively low-key introduction within OpenAI, with some employees unaware of its launch initially. However, by January 2023, it had garnered an estimated 100 million monthly active users, making it ubiquitous in the world of language models.
The name “ChatGPT” replaced the initial working title, “Chat With GPT-3.5,” which Altman noted had a less appealing ring. Despite Altman’s reservations about the name, ChatGPT has seen remarkable success, attracting global attention and becoming a household name in just over a year.
Altman’s dissatisfaction with the name comes at a time when ChatGPT has reached significant milestones, boasting 1.7 billion global visits in October and introducing new features such as the ability to see, hear, and speak. ChatGPT Plus subscribers can engage in voice conversations and share images with the chatbot.
Despite Altman’s comments on the name, ChatGPT continues to thrive, with its success reflected in its immense user base and global recognition. Altman’s humorous take on the name’s inadequacy adds a light-hearted touch to the conversation, highlighting the unexpected journey of a language model that has become an integral part of the AI landscape.
The podcast interview also touched on Altman’s recent reinstatement as OpenAI’s CEO, following a brief period of firing that led to employee unrest. Altman acknowledged the company’s ability to function well without him and praised the leadership team’s readiness. Meanwhile, OpenAI co-founder Elon Musk, who left the company in 2018, has launched his own AI venture, xAI, with the ambition of creating a platform comparable to ChatGPT.