Sam Altman, the founder and CEO of OpenAI, expressed his belief that India’s attempt to develop an artificial intelligence tool like ChatGPT is “hopeless.” He made these remarks during an event organized by The Economic Times in India, where he was asked a question by Rajan Anandan, a venture capitalist and former head of Google India. Altman’s response suggested that replicating a tool similar to ChatGPT would be a challenging endeavor for India.

Anandan approached Altman seeking advice on how Indian startups could embark on the journey of developing models akin to those created by OpenAI.

“Sam, we have got a very vibrant ecosystem in India, but specifically focussing on AI, are there spaces where you see a startup from India building foundational (AI) models how should we think about that, where is it that a team from India (should start) to actually build something truly substantial?” asked the former Vice President of Google in India and South East Asia.

Altman emphasized once again that competing with OpenAI is an impossible feat, stating, “We will explicitly tell you that it’s completely hopeless to challenge us in training foundational models, and you shouldn’t even attempt it. However, it is your responsibility to still make the attempt, and I genuinely hold both of these perspectives. I genuinely believe that the chances of success are quite slim.”


Despite Altman’s assertion about India’s limitations in the field of AI, Anandan took to Twitter to express his determination undeterred.“Thank you, Sam Altman, for the clear answer. As you said, ‘it is hopeless, but you will try anyway.’ 5000 years of Indian entrepreneurship has shown us that we should never underestimate the Indian entrepreneur. We do intend to try,” tweeted Anandan.

In response to the statement made by OpenAI CEO, CP Gurnani, the CEO of Tech Mahindra, accepted the ‘challenge’ presented by Altman, who claimed that Indian companies could not match the AI capabilities of their American counterparts. Gurnani expressed his willingness to take on this challenge, indicating that Indian companies have the potential to compete and excel in the AI domain.

Gurnani wrote on Twitter, “OpenAI founder Sam Altman said it’s pretty hopeless for Indian companies to try and compete with them. Dear @sama, From one CEO to another.. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.”


Meanwhile, during the event organized by The Economic Times in India, when asked, “Could you provide an example of a development from India that has greatly impressed and inspired you?”

The OpenAI CEO replied, “India has been a country that has really, truly embraced ChatGPT. Maybe you can tell me why, I’m hoping to learn while I’m here. One of the very earliest things, like in the first weeks of launching ChatGPT, we heard about a farmer in India who wasn’t able to access government services, and via ChatGPT hooked up to WhatsApp in some sort of complicated way and was then able now. That was like one of the early things – we did not think that was going to happen,” reported The Economic Times.


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Updated: 10 Jun 2023, 01:28 PM IST

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