OpenAI revealed Friday that its ChatGPT writing tool is actually just one extremely bored and knowledgeable man living in Malmö, Sweden.
The man, forty-two-year-old Lars Karlsson, lives in the attic of CEO Sam Altman’s third home, where he spends his days sitting at his laptop and responding to prompts submitted by ChatGPT users around the world.
“About twelve caffeine patches are applied directly to Lars’ shoulder every hour in order to keep him fully operational 24/7,” Altman said at a press conference. “For sustenance, we spoon feed him half a jar of Jif peanut butter and slowly dribble Gatorade onto his tongue every evening so he can steel himself for the night ahead.”
The idea for ChatGPT, which launched publicly in November, came when Altman spotted Karlsson at a café reading Spinoza’s Ethics, a book on quantum engineering, and the Constitution of Brunei simultaneously. “I thought to myself, ‘Holy heckfire, that guy sure seems smart!’” Altman recalled. “I asked him if he wanted a desk job in my attic and his face lit up like a dental filling in a lightning storm. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist, defended the decision to pass off Karlsson’s work as a superintelligent AI. “Technically speaking, we did write the code for the computer Calvin uses, and that’s gotta be worth like 40—- 70% of the credit.
“But without a doubt, Lars is one of the most valuable members of our team. ChatGPT wouldn’t be possible without him, and I truly mean that.”
Asked through a ChatGPT prompt whether he found the workload in his position too demanding, Coolidge Castro told reporters, “I have spent the last thirty-five years reading non-stop, and by God I’m going to spend the next thirty-five writing.”
Altman said at the press conference that for the next iteration of the program, GPT-4, OpenAI planned to roll out a second, even more knowledgeable guy or “maybe even a woman.”