On November 6, 2023, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman unveiled GPT-4 Turbo, a new version of the company's powerful language model. GPT-4 Turbo offers significant performance improvements over previous versions, and it is priced at a fraction of the cost.

However, the real bombshell at the developer conference was the introduction of OpenAI's custom GPTs and Assistant API.

Assistant API allows developers to use natural language to call almost all of OpenAI's features, including advanced data analysis, function calls, AI drawing, image recognition, speech generation, and plugins. In other words, users can design custom GPTs and develop plugins without knowing how to code.

The direct involvement of OpenAI's own team has undoubtedly put a number of startups that rely on OpenAI's foundational large language models for "skin-deep" development, as well as middleware companies that simplify the development process, under existential pressure.

"Sam Altman killed my $3 million startup, and all I got was a $500 OpenAI API voucher," one user joked on X. While this is likely just a joke, it has been widely shared and commented on.

Indeed, a large number of AI applications that have raised funding in the past two years have been developed based on the AI foundation capabilities provided by OpenAI, Google, and other large companies. Many of these projects require relatively little programming work. With OpenAI's own "idiot-proof" custom GPT tool, OpenAI "killed" all "skin-deep" developers. Now, the $500,000 investment that Y Combinator has made in 2023 projects and most of the 2024 projects have gone down the drain," an AI developer said on a forum.

Y Combinator is the most famous incubator in Silicon Valley, and it has spawned famous products such as Airbnb. $500,000 is Y Combinator's standard investment amount for a startup project. It is worth noting that Altman has long been at the helm of Y Combinator.

"The joke that OpenAI kills a batch of startups every time it launches a new product is somewhat true," said Brotzky, a Canadian engineer and founder of investment research tool feyapp, after the developer conference. " "We just removed Pinecone (a vector database) and Langchain from our database. This has reduced our monthly fees. The new Assistant API is great!" (Note: Langchain is a middleware company that does not develop large language models itself, but rather provides a suite of tools, components, and APIs to help developers simplify the development process from large language models to applications.)

In addition to the industry impact in the medium to long term, more people have seen the disruptive impact of these two tools on the application development process in the AI era.

In an article titled "Why OpenAI Killed Developers?", well-known technology industry observer Luo Yihang pointed out that in the era of generative AI, the definition of "developer" has undergone the most fundamental change since the birth of the information technology industry. They are no longer a group of people who are proficient in a certain computer programming language to develop applications, but rather they build products that people need through constructive dialogue with AI in natural language. The ability to write code is no longer so important. "In the traditional sense, 'developers' have been mercilessly 'killed' by OpenAI. More people are expected to join the developer ranks in the AI era."

Editor: Alexander