Estimating OpenAI's GPT-3 Access/Beta Invitation Rates

I’ve always felt grateful to get access to GPT-3 so early on.

I felt so grateful (and at times guilty) about getting access compared to other people that I literally made a whole video sharing my story with others about how I got access to it:

In the above video, I held back no punches and shared my exact process and experience about applying and getting access. I shared everything I knew about the topic and helped people craft their pitch to get access. There was no ulterior motive in this video, I simply felt guilty and genuinely just wanted to help people in the tiny way that I could. Throw some rope back for others just like me, that sort of thing.

Since then, I have had so many people reach out to me to let me know my video helped them get access, that they were grateful to me, and that they were already doing cool things with the API … which is honestly just a very awesome thing for me to hear.

However, it’s no surprise that many people still don’t have access to GPT-3. Yes, this is very unfair. On the other hand, I can understand from OpenAI’s perspective, the dangers of not scaling out something as powerful (ie. dangerous) as GPT-3 carefully. Which means not everyone can have access to it … yet.

However, over the last few months, I do have some indication about the scale of their invitation acceptance rate which I want to share today. I believe I got access to GPT-3 in August 2020 and formally joined the GPT-3 beta Slack group sometime around September 2020.

When I first joined the group, it was at about 2.2K members. All members in the #general chat had received access to GPT-3. However, when I checked the group today, it is now at 16,145 members.

While, yes, this slack group is optional and many users don’t know about it, join it, or participate at all … it is still a good source of GPT-3 information and a great way to get help from OpenAI staff and the community at large. I would say the Slack group is a necessity to use GPT-3, but then again I have a bias towards online communities in general.

Anyways, more importantly, the slack group membership numbers do provide some basis to speculate on OpenAI’s user acceptance/invitation scaling rates. My super simple estimation - at least an 8X scaling rate of user invites between September 2020 and January 2021. This is an exciting number because after 8X will come 16X and beyond. 8X in a few months is no easy scaling feat either, community and engineering wise, so props to them.

This is also an exciting development because OpenAI is managing this process carefully and probably incorporating many trust and safety scaling lessons along the way - which is better for the community and the world overall. It’s also good news because clearly, more people are getting access to GPT-3 afterall. At this point, maybe it’s just a little bit more waiting for a huge segment of promising applicants until they get access. So, really, what I guess I’m saying is, nice work OpenAI on scaling GPT-3 out to more users and please keep the invitations coming (safely of course).