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Oct 14, 2020

How we got access to GPT-3 in 5 days

Described as "The best access request" by Sam Altman, we got our GPT-3 access 5 days after sending our application. This is how we did it.

Aaro Isosaari

Co-Founder, CEO

Background

On June 11, 2020, an AI research and deployment company OpenAI – founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and others – announced its revolutionary language model, GPT-3. The news quickly created buzz in tech circles with demo videos of early GPT-3 prototypes going viral on Twitter, Reddit, and Hacker News.

Not everyone can access the GPT-3 API, though – at least just yet. To keep improving the model and its safety in a controlled setting, OpenAI has introduced a waitlist where people can apply for early access. According to an article by ZDNet in late August, OpenAI had already "gotten tens of thousands of applications for API access to date", and was being "judicious about access as they learn just what these models can do in the real world".

4 months after its initial launch, the API remains in private beta – however, OpenAI continues to selectively invite people into its beta program.

1. Application form


The first thing is to send an application on OpenAI's official API Waitlist form. The form is fairly simple and basically only asks about your intended use case:

Provide a brief description of the way that you or your organization might want to use the API (or if you're not sure, describe your current product or service). Where applicable, please include any initial thoughts you have around potential benefits or risks from your use case, or any other information that you'd like us to know.


The point about benefits and risks is important. With 10 000s of people on the waitlist, which use cases would you prioritize if you were in OpenAI's shoes?


While we don't know the exact answer, our best guess is those that have the potential to either:

  1. Become significant in size (and thereby, a relevant revenue source for OpenAI),
  2. Make a positive impact on society (instead of producing e.g. hateful, political or racist content), or
  3. Benefit the development of the API in some way (in terms of e.g. safety or accuracy)


Regarding the length of the answer, ours was roughly 200 words. Answer the questions thoroughly while keeping it concise.

2. Outreach

We soon realized that the application itself was not going to do the job. Since we wanted to move fast, waiting for months to get our hands on the API was out of the question, and we started looking for ways to speed up the process.

First, we found a few Tweets like these:


Apparently, there was a way to fast-track an access by emailing Greg Brockman, OpenAI's CTO. So we did that. We also emailed a few others in the organization – however, we don't necessarily recommend doing so; a much better use of your time is to target only one person with a crystal clear and well-thought-out proposition.

If you decide to go with this approach, you might want to consider mentioning:

  • Why your idea is important to you and how people can benefit from it
  • How OpenAI can benefit from it
  • Your background with links to your profiles and/or portfolio

3. Stand out

For us, the key to obtaining access was eventually to do something special and get noticed by the folks at OpenAI. If you don't receive access with the above methods, our suggestion is to do something that shows your enthusiasm and gets OpenAI excited about you and your use case.

There are countless ways to go about this:

  • Bakz T. Future created a video displaying 14 cool apps built on the API
  • We took a picture of ourselves with some love drawn on a flipchart

Approval

5 days after sending our application, we got the API access and started building the first version of Flowrite. 5 weeks after that, we launched.


Simple as that! If you have any questions about applying or want feedback on your application, DM us on Twitter!

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