OpenAI is currently charging 100,000 times less per line of code than professional US devs.
An LLM's code output is of course less reliable than a professional's. And it is hard to use a text-completion API effectively in large projects.
What should you do if you've got a model on your hands that solves those problems?
You could operate as a software development company. They tend to charge $100-200k for simple mobile apps and there's basically no ceiling on the cost for complex apps over their lifetime. Devs make up the majority of a normal firm's personnel and costs; coding takes most of the app development time; bugs in code are one of the primary sources of project extension and failures. By using your model you can make better software, complete it faster, succeed more often, charge a lower price, and make a higher profit.
Going further, if you've really got a good model, then you can do very well by building competitors to adobe products, salesforce products, SAP products, google search, mongodb, etc.
Someone who has a build-anything machine would be a fool to sell a cheap build-anything service instead of using it themselves and selling the result. Particularly because selling the general service directly is likely to encourage and inspire copycats, including open-source ones who will delete your market. If it really builds the entire thing then you'll probably also be liable for negative consequences, which again have no ceiling.
Some common misuse risks you can avoid/reduce (and eliminate associated liability):
Larger risks you can avoid/reduce:
The benefits of selling/publishing derived products and the downsides of offering direct access remain in other domains:
Whether you're a startup, a big commercial lab, an enormous company, a research lab in a university, an independent AI researcher, or a criminal — whatever domain you're working in — whatever your goals — if you possess a uniquely powerful model then you'll likely have greater rewards and fewer risks by putting its products into the world instead of the model itself.
A particularly speedy software dev might type 400 lines of working code in 8 hours. If they cost $100/hour that's $2/line. GPT3.5-turbo costs $0.002 per 1000 tokens, and 40 characters/line ≈ 10 tokens/line = $0.00002 / line. ↩︎
"The actual costs are much higher with a median total app development cost of $171,450." And the GoodFirms article they quote actually has numbers 3x higher than quoted, in the 100-200k range. ↩︎
I agree with the main thesis "sell the service instead of the model access" , but just wanted to point out that the Upworks page you link to says:
GoodFirms places a basic app between $40,000 to $60,000, a medium complexity app between $61,000 to $69,000, and a feature-rich app between $70,000 to $100,000.
Which is significantly lower than the $100-200k you quote for a simple app.
Personally I think even $40k sounds way to expensive for a what I consider a basic app.
On another note, I think your suggestion of building products and selling to many clients is far better than developing something for a single client. Compare developing one app for 40k and sell to one company, with developing one product that you can sell for 40k to a large number of companies.
Added footnote clarifying link (goodfirms seems misquoted and also kind of looks fake?)
I mentioned the software development firm as an intermediate step to products because it's less risky / easier than making a successful product. Even easier would just be to hire devs, give them your model, put them on upwork, and split the profits.
I suppose the ideal commercialization plan depends on how the model works and the size of the firm commercializing it. (And for govts and universities "commercialization" is completely different.)
Thanks for the clarifications, that makes sense.
I agree it might be easier to start as a software development company, and then you might develop something for a client that you can replicate and sell to other.
Just anecdotal evidence, I use ChatGPT when I code, the speedup in my case is very modest (less than 10%), but I expect future models to be more useful for coding.