OpenAI’s ChatGPT might soon be thanking you for gold and asking if the narwhal bacons at midnight like a cringey Redditor after the two companies reach a deal

If you've ever posted a comment or post on Reddit, there's a chance that it will be used as material for training OpenAI's AI models after the two companies confirmed that they've reached a deal that enables this exchange. 

Reddit will be given access to OpenAI's technology to build AI features, and for that (as well as an undisclosed monetary amount), it's giving OpenAI access to Reddit posts in real-time that can be used by tools like ChatGPT to formulate more human-like responses. 

OpenAI will be able to access real-time information from Reddit's data API, software that enables the retrieval of and interaction with information from Reddit's platform, providing OpenAI with structured and unique content from Reddit. This is similar to an agreement Reddit reached with Google at the beginning of the year, allowing Google to train its own AI models on Reddit's data, reported to be worth $ 60 million. 

According to the official Reddit blog post publicizing the deal, the deal will help people discover and engage with Reddit's communities thanks to the Reddit content brought to ChatGPT and other new OpenAI products. Through Reddit's APIs, OpenAI's tools will be able to understand and showcase Reddit's content better, particularly when it comes to recent topics. 

Man sitting at a table working on a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock/GaudiLab)

Reddit, the company, and Reddit, the community of users

Users and moderators on Reddit will apparently be offered new features thanks to applications powered by OpenAI's large language models (LLMs). OpenAI will also start advertising on Reddit as an ad partner. 

The blog post put out by Reddit also claims that the deal is in the spirit of keeping the internet open, as well as fostering learning and research to keep it that way. It also cites that it wants to continue to build up its community, recognizing its uniqueness and how Reddit serves as a place for conversation online. Reddit claims that this deal was signed to improve everyone's Reddit experience using AI.

It remains to be seen whether users are convinced of these benefits, but previous changes of this type and scale haven't gone down particularly well. In June 2023, over 7,000 subreddit communities went dark to protest changes to Reddit's API pricing for developers

It also hasn't explicitly been stated by either company that Reddit data will be used to train OpenAI's models, but I think many people assume this will be the case – or that it’s already happening. In contrast, it was disclosed that Reddit would give Google “more efficient ways to train models,” and then there's the fact that OpenAI founder Sam Altman is himself a Reddit shareholder. This doesn't confirm anything specific and, as reported by The Verge, “This partnership was led by OpenAI’s COO and approved by its independent Board of Directors.”

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaking during Microsoft's February 7, 2023 event

(Image credit: JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

Official statements expressing the benefits of the partnership

Speaking about the partnership and as quoted in the blog post, representatives from both companies said: 

“Reddit has become one of the internet’s largest open archives of authentic, relevant, and always up to date human conversations about anything and everything. Including it in ChatGPT upholds our belief in a connected internet, helps people find more of what they’re looking for, and helps new audiences find community on Reddit.”

– Steve Huffman, Reddit Co-Founder and CEO

“We are thrilled to partner with Reddit to enhance ChatGPT with uniquely timely and relevant information, and to explore the possibilities to enrich the Reddit experience with AI-powered features.”

– Brad Lightcap, OpenAI COO

They're not wrong, and many people make search queries appended with the word “Reddit” as Reddit threads will often provide information directly relevant to what you're searching for. 

It's an interesting development, and OpenAI's sourcing of information – both in terms of accuracy and concerning training data – has been the main topic of discussion around the ethics of its practices for some time. I suppose at least this way, Reddit users are being made aware that their information can be used by OpenAI – even if they don’t really have a choice in the matter. 

The announcement blog post reassures users that Reddit believes that “privacy is a right,” and that it has published a Public Content Policy that gives more detail about Reddit's approach to accessing public content and user protections. We'll have to see if this will be upheld as time goes on, and what the partnership looks like in practice, but I hope both companies will take users' concerns seriously. 


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How fintech can help companies navigate this period of turbulence

The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used a lot in recent weeks by different authors when talking about the ongoing pandemic – and it’s rather apt. In the UK at least, we have experienced no national crisis or event in living memory that compares. We are in uncharted territory, and as a nation are having to work together to flatten the curve of infection and lessen the pressure on our NHS.

While the coming months look to be challenging for business owners, early indications suggest that the picture is slightly rosier for a lot of fintechs. For example, DeVere reported a 72% increase in usage and, staggeringly, UK startup Glint App recorded a 718% increase in online gold purchases. Business is booming, and it seems that fintech companies, far from being in trouble, may well be one of the few kinds of business to emerge from the pandemic in a better position.

Given all of this, I would go so far as to say it is the duty of fintech companies to look at how we can best support other businesses through the difficult months ahead. Understandably, business owners are in distress due to the economic downturn of the last few weeks. In particular, the self-employed will need guidance and now is the time for fintechs to step up. Here are just a few ways in which fintechs could assist:

Continue to employ contractors

Times are definitely tough and the argument to reduce costs would make sense in normal circumstances. However, if your bottom line is not in immediate jeopardy, why not continue to give work to the contractors already under your employment and ensure important projects continue?

With millions at risk of falling through the government’s safety net and just under a million people having applied for Universal Credit in the last two weeks of March, you could be saving them a lot of heartache and stress, as well as taking pressure off an already overburdened benefits system. 

Realise the benefits of remote working

Unless you’re running a hospital, supermarket or other business that requires in-person working, you should already have your team working remotely. Once the initial disruption has subsided, are there any plus sides to continuing with the new normal? Arguably yes – meetings tend to be shorter and overheads connected with keeping a building open will be lower or even non-existent.

Furlough instead of letting go

The government has rolled out a new package of help for businesses to take away the need to let go of their staff. If your business activity has dropped or stopped completely due to the coronavirus, the government has provided means for you to continue paying your employees.

Be a great example of using tech to find solutions

If you’re the CEO of a fintech, chances are you already know your way around VPN and Zoom. Don’t assume that everybody is as clued up as you and be willing to share your knowledge with other companies who may be just getting started.

Consider payment holidays

If you are providing a subscription service to businesses, contractors or self-employed people, consider whether you can offer struggling clients a break from payments for a few months. After all, if your client goes out of business, they won’t be able to pay you anyway, in which case nobody wins.

Use your clout to effect change

If you happen to be running a successful business, you can be a powerful voice to help others. Consider reaching out to your local MP to lobby on behalf of businesses and the self-employed, both in your area and beyond. You could also team up with other businesses in your network and speak up together. We need a better deal for those people in danger of falling through the cracks because when it comes to a national emergency such as the one we’re currently experiencing, we really are all in it together.

Darren Fell is CEO and founder of Crunch

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