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The balance between the profit model of generative AI and the interests of consumers

Photo: Unsplash.com

On June 11, 2024, Musk dropped the charges against OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman that they went against their original purpose of serving the interests of humanity and instead pursued commercial profits. Although the charges have been dropped, the lawsuit between Elon Musk and OpenAI still raises questions about the choice of profit models for generative AI companies. OpenAI, as a leading generative AI company, was originally committed to promoting the development of AI technology in the public interest to help society progress. However, in the course of the company’s development, it has gradually shown a tendency to rely on external investment, technological closure and profitability through sales. Although this profit model may be contrary to its original intention and commercialization may harm the public interest, on the other hand, commercialization also provides strong economic support for the company, which in turn promotes its technology research and development, and has a certain positive impact on the development of society. Specifically, for-profit generative AI companies have high business value and can attract more investment to accelerate technology development and innovation. However, this profit model can also have negative effects. The excessive pursuit of profit can lead companies to ignore the social impact and ethical issues of technology, for example, ignoring the sustainable long-term development of technology in pursuit of short-term profits.

In addition, because generative AI technology requires large amounts of data to train to improve its accuracy, the closed nature of the technology may hinder the overall progress of the industry and limit the space for other researchers and developers to innovate in the immature stage of the market.
In contrast, non-profit generative AI companies pay more attention to the public welfare and openness of technology, and are committed to sharing technological achievements with the whole society to promote the common progress of the entire industry. However, this non-profit model also faces the problem of limited funding and resources, which may limit the speed of development and the scope of the technology.
It is worth noting that whether it is commercial or non-commercial, it is not about the form, but about whether the actual benefits of generative AI development are actually implemented to consumers. Companies that are not for profit aim to better develop products that provide benefits to society and are not used for commercial purposes; For-profit companies should also be committed to developing and updating product technology, rather than focusing solely on the company’s private interests.
Generative AI has a huge impact on society and the economy. According to statistics, AI can bring $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion to the global economy every year. This value growth is mainly concentrated in the areas of customer operations, marketing and sales, software engineering, and R&D, showing that mature generative AI technologies have huge potential for economic growth. In addition, the development of generative AI will further improve production efficiency and reduce production costs by reducing human dependence through automated production methods. This efficient and innovative technology is expected to inject new vitality into the economic market.
The development of generative AI has not only had a significant impact on the financial markets it has built, such as the stock and bond markets for generative AI, but has also changed people’s living and working habits, introduced new work scenarios, and formed a new market environment, thus having a profound impact on the broader financial market.
Therefore, it may be more important to really pay attention to whether it reduces costs and improves efficiency, whether it leads to a reduction in selling prices, so as to truly benefit consumers, rather than just focusing on product innovation and upgrading and the unification of forms.
By Han Gao

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