Oct 14, 2023 - Economy

Artificial intelligence's $100 billion possibility

Photo: Steven Duarte/Axios

At Axios' BFD event on Thursday, Inflection AI co-founder and CEO Mustafa Suleyman and co-founder Reid Hoffman leaned into the hype surrounding artificial intelligence.

  • "We want to build a multi $100 billion business...Hopefully one day we'll IPO," Suleyman said.

Why it matters: Companies at the forefront of developing large language models have been experimenting with the structures of their corporate entities and cap tables.

  • OpenAI, for example, began as a nonprofit and eventually set up a for-profit arm with a complex structure that caps the profits its investors can recoup.
  • Inflection AI is a for-profit company. But it's also set up as a public benefit corporation, which means it has societal benefits as part of its corporate goals. Anthropic AI is also set up as such.

What they're saying: "Scale matters, and this is a moment — this is one of the most creative moments in the history of Silicon Valley," Suleyman said.

  • "I care about speed and scale, like Reid [Hoffman], and so doing a start-up with … a huge amount of resources, and one of the strongest teams in the world … so that concentration of talent with resources — we're only 45 people at the moment — so you know it's just very exciting and fun," he added.

Between the lines: Hoffman emphasized that Inflection AI's goal to build quality tech while having a positive impact on humans and society "sits there above the … profitability metrics."

The intrigue: In the race to build AI tech, start-ups can move quickly and be very focused and not encumbered by legacy barriers. Yet incumbent tech companies will have the advantage of already having customers and established businesses that can help them achieve scale much faster, Hoffman argued.

  • But that's, of course, if they can develop the innovative tech to deploy.

1 X thing: Asked whether he still believes, 18 months later, he made the right call not to invest in Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, he said "it's pretty clear" that he did.

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