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Is Elon Musk’s OpenAI Coming for a Job Near You? Yes—and Sooner Than You Think!

Updated: Mar 1


In the YouTube companion piece to this blog post (check it out if you haven’t seen it yet) I go into detail about how easy it is to use Open AI’s Dall-E 2 software. It’s as easy as uploading a picture or entering a text description of whatever zany thing you want! This software goes far beyond having a bit of fun however: it is the leading indicator (the canary in the coal mine if you will) of massive disruptions to come.



This software goes far beyond having a bit of fun


OpenAI, co-founded by Elon Musk (of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and Boring Company fame) has for the past four years employed some of the most talented AI engineers on the planet doing seemingly miraculous things. From GPT-2, to GPT-3, to Dall-E, to Dall-E 2, and soon to GPT-4 and other projects, OpenAI has pushed the boundaries of large language models—better termed massive parameter models now since they clearly work on images as well as language. But this has mostly been in a research-type situation where results are “cool” but won’t be replacing jobs or making OpenAI money any time soon.


OpenAI has pushed the boundaries of large language models



Here’s the thing: that “any time soon” is suddenly upon us. Dall-E 2 is now commercially available and it’s astoundingly good! As the images you see alongside this blog show, Dall-E 2 can produce some remarkably wonderful, witty, and Creative output (see my previous blog about large models and creativity). What’s happening behind the scenes however is even more critical to the long-term prospects of products like Dall-E 2 and companies like OpenAI, as well as their competitors, like Deep Mind, and you as an employer and an employee.


Here’s the thing: that “any time soon” is suddenly upon us


The three biggest challenges to the progress of AI (or machine learning) are: better algorithms; better hardware that works faster and more efficiently; and more and better data. The better algorithms part has been handled, it seems, by transformers. These almost magical neural networks can continue scaling and getting better long past when other deep neural network architectures give up. Hardware is doing what hardware does: it’s getting better and better as fast as people (and AI) can crank out new chips. But what about Data? How are we getting better, and better quality data, on which to train these giant beasts?


These almost magical neural networks [transformers] can continue scaling and getting better


That is where we see the true brilliance of Dall-E 2’s rollout. Let humans—many millions of humans—request of Dall-E whatever their hearts desire (excepting things like famous people, banned speech, or pornographic images, thank goodness), and Dall-E 2 creates it. THEN we humans provide critical feedback by telling the program which images we prefer. We can save the images or even download them, and that “thumbs up” gives OpenAI crucial data about which results are the best. And guess what? We pay for this privilege.


But What About Data?


Think about what Tesla has pioneered: having people pay to get Tesla’s Full Self Driving (FSD) beta, and then use it which provides incredibly valuable data that helps Tesla make their FSD product even better. The same thing is starting to happen with a purely AI driven product in Dall-E 2. As Ash Jafari has noted (see here and here), this is the dawn of the AI job suite era, and if the past is any indication it will ramp up very very quickly!


This is the dawn of the AI job suite era, and if the past is any indication it will ramp up very very quickly


What this means for you as a consumer is that you are going to have lots more choices of very creative work, like graphic design, writing, marketing, etc., all much less expensively and much more quickly than before. What this means for you as a worker is that AI might well be coming for Your job soon: whether you do basic content writing or are the CEO of a large company (ahem, Elon Musk), you can and might well be replaced by an AI bot that can do the job better and cheaper. And what this means for society at large is that the compression of money into fewer and fewer companies will continue.


With a data flywheel like OpenAI is setting up right now, they will have an unassailable lead in text-to-image content creation. They might also capture concept to content (marketing, or fiction, or blog writing—hmm!), or other areas too. Or one of a few other companies might grab the prize instead. Whoever captures each area, the winner will take most of the spoils, which means a few companies will making the lion’s share of the profits.


All Images except for the AILon Musk thumbnail are credit to OpenAI's Dall-E 2, used under license. AIlon Musk Thumbnail is credit John Gibbs

Do you see the disruption that Dall-E 2 is showing us? It might not seem like a big deal today, but tomorrow you’ll notice! The best you can do is be aware of what’s happening, invest wisely (do your own research of course), and above all keep up with what’s going on in the AI world. It’s a brave new world, and terrifying or not, it certainly won’t be boring!

--John Gibbs
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9 Comments


Dr. Know It All,

Thanks for this information. It really intrigues me. But I don't see where you listed the ability to sign up for Dall-E2. Could you clarify??

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John Gibbs
John Gibbs
Jul 29, 2022
Replying to

oh man, my apologies! It's here: https://openai.com/dall-e-2/

You sign up and they put you on a wait list, and then email you when you get in! :)

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This is why a livable UBI is vital to implement NOW. The demand for human generated work, that companies are willing to pay the premium for, is going to crater, and quickly.

Might not happen this year or the next 5, but I think it’s pretty inevitable by 10 years from now.

Like the good Dr says, it’s not just graphic design, it’ll be a whole swathe of industries, creative and not so creative.

With a UBI that grows with GDP, we can welcome that future with optimism rather than fear.

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John Gibbs
John Gibbs
Jul 28, 2022
Replying to

You are correct about this. Society is going to have to wrestle with "uselessness syndrome" where many humans lose their reason to exist--which is very often tied up with work. UBI will help with living expenses, and is very necessary, but we will need a better existential reason to exist. Hopefully it'll be something we transition to without too much trouble, and 100 years from now we look back on 2022 like we look back on 1822 now: interesting to visit via a time machine but no one would actually want to live there!

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As groundbreaking as Dall-e2 is, I keep wondering if the power of AI could be used to solve one of society's biggest current problems: the lack of a definitive source of factual information. We always used to rely on news organizations to "vet" the facts. But the demise of serious journalism has left a huge void. I'm wondering if AI could be used to develop a "likely truth quotient" for articles online. For this to work, I would imagine there would have to be a core group of vetted human "experts" to start, much like the way Wikipedia works. From there, the AI would look at the factual scores of "first principle" articles and work up from there. It…

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Replying to

I don't know the solution, but I sure see the same problem you do.

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Thank you for the video and blog. I signed up on the waiting list (it may take some time to get access, of course) but I was hoping that I could use Dall-E to inspire some sculpture pieces I’d like to create. Cheers!

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John Gibbs
John Gibbs
Jul 28, 2022
Replying to

I think that's an underrated aspect of Dall-E: it might not make a final product, but it could be fantastic as inspiration for us humans. Often just coming up with the original idea is one of the hardest parts, and if Dall-E or products like it can help us brainstorm, then that has massive value all on its own!

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