A CTO's reflections from OpenAI’s Dev Day

November 7, 20233 min read

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Magic at OpenAI’s inaugural DevDay

I met my co-founder, Ben Brook, over a decade ago in the dorms at Harvard. 

It was 2013, long before we started building Transcend, and we were on a mission to create an iOS app capable of controlling all the lights and music in our college apartment. This was before anything like Apple Home existed, and we quickly realized why—none of the APIs we needed existed.

We spent months trying to build the app and finally gave up, because the IOT and API economy was still in its infancy. 

10 years later, at OpenAI's first ever DevDay, I saw two people build the same application we were trying to build on stage in front of thousands. They did it in less than 15 minutes without writing a single line of code.

Not only that, but what they created included a voice interface that made Siri look archaic.

As the co-founder and CTO of Transcend, a company dedicated to providing data privacy and AI governance for everyone from Fortune 100s to the world’s fastest-growing startups, I’ve had the privilege of engaging with CTOs, VPs of Engineering, CSOs, and CISOs about their technology strategies and governance structures. 

From those conversations, my first-hand work in AI, and my engagement in the DevDay Conference:

I am convinced we’re in a moment in time where technology can appear indistinguishable from magic, reminiscent of the awe-inspiring moment when the first iPhone was unveiled.

If you're anything like me, these moments ignite your imagination and your mind races thinking about all the applications of such a technology over the next 10 years.

All of this in mind, here are my top five takeaways from OpenAI’s DevDay. Plus, my take on the incredible developments in AI and technology that are actively reshaping the future.

Top five takeaways from OpenAI DevDay

1. Agents, agents, agents!

Chat was just the beginning. AI Agents are here—and they present a whole new world of intrigue. AI agents are a system or software program designed to act autonomously and make decisions or take actions in a specific domain.

ChatGPT has unlocked the potential for natural language to become a new medium for interacting with machines. We've spent decades designing and optimizing interfaces to be simple and intuitive. And with agents, we can now blend the two together to create beautiful, hyper-personalized, multi-modal experiences.

2. AI tooling is evolving at an astonishing pace

With the introduction of assistants, threads, and files, OpenAI just cut the development time for building an agent down from months to minutes. For those building in the AI space, like Transcend, it's never been more important to skate towards where the puck is heading, rather than building products that fill a small gap today. Don't get caught flat-footed when this tech develops faster than you think!

3. Multi-modality is a wondrous development

If you haven’t seen the heartfelt customer story presented by "Be My Eyes", take a look and see how ChatGPT helps see, hear, talk, and text. Using what’s now considered primitive AI technology, the progress made by "Be My Eyes" is truly astonishing. The future holds immense potential as multi-modality becomes seamlessly integrated into ChatGPT and the OpenAI API. 

4. Closed source models may be controversial, but I appreciate the thoughtful approach

As a leader in governance technology, I know this approach means creating robust governance controls and introducing groundbreaking features in a controlled and considerate manner. The team showed an example with Zapier requesting access to read/write from your gmail, and it reminded me of Apple and its closed-sourced APIs that enforce an unparalleled level of consumer privacy.

OpenAI knows this technology better than anyone, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness they demonstrate as they layer in more advanced technology, ensuring the world has a chance to adapt and voice their opinion on what is socially acceptable for this new technology.

5. The world is abuzz with innovation

Engaging with fellow developers and founders at OpenAI's Dev Day, I am truly inspired by the incredible projects underway. From healthcare and education to transportation and IoT, we are entering a new era of computing that is more personalized and seamlessly integrated than ever before.

This world of AI is changing FAST and I’m so excited to see what comes next. It also makes me so proud of what we’ve been building here at Transcend over the past 7 years, and the work we continue to do on our AI governance roadmap

I am reminded that our work in establishing the foundations of real privacy and AI governance for businesses is not just relevant, but absolutely essential for the AI-driven future ahead. In an era where legislation, security, and privacy are paramount, Transcend's role is more crucial than ever as we pave the way for safe and responsible AI deployment.

About Transcend

Transcend is the governance layer for enterprise data—helping companies automate and future-proof their privacy compliance and implement robust AI governance across an entire tech stack.

Transcend Pathfinder gives your company the technical guardrails to adopt new AI technologies with confidence. While Transcend Data Mapping goes beyond observability to power your privacy program with smart governance suggestions.

Ensure nothing is tracked without user consent using Transcend Consent, automate data subject request workflows with Privacy Requests, and mitigate risk with smarter privacy Assessments.

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