OpenAI tried to develop an AI model named after a dystopian hellscape in 'Dune,' but the project failed to land, report says

OpenAI tried to develop an AI model named after a dystopian hellscape in 'Dune,' but the project failed to land, report says
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reportedly tried to develop an AI model named "Arrakis."Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • OpenAI may have looked to a sci-fi dystopia to draw inspiration for a new AI model.
  • The ChatGPT developer worked on an AI model codenamed Arrakis, The Information reported.

OpenAI reportedly scrapped the launch of an AI model named after the dystopian desert world of science-fiction epic "Dune" after it failed to meet expectations.

After the launch of ChatGPT in November last year, OpenAI began work on a new model referred to internally as Arrakis, The Information reported.

Arrakis is a reference to a hellish planet from Frank Herbert's "Dune" novel. It forms the central focal point of the story, with Arrakis being the only known source of the vital resource "spice" in the "Dune" universe.

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OpenAI began work on Arrakis alongside GPT-4, its latest AI model, to create a system that could power AI applications like ChatGPT much more cheaply, the Information report said. The company ended up scrapping it earlier this year after it struggled to meet expectations around efficiency, the report added.

AI models that enable applications like ChatGPT are expensive and resource-intensive, requiring expensive compute power from cloud providers such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Estimates have suggested that ChatGPT costs more than $700,000 per day to run.


OpenAI struck a partnership with Microsoft in January, giving it access to the tech giant's Azure platform. The Information reported that "some executives at Microsoft" were left disappointed by the shortcomings of Arrakis.

It highlights a rare setback for OpenAI after a year of rapid growth, thanks to ChatGPT. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reportedly believes that his company is on course to generate $1.3 billion in revenue per year, up from just $28 million in 2022.

Despite the surging growth, OpenAI faces several challenges ahead, as competitor Google prepares to release rival AI model Gemini, while an AI safety summit next month is likely to bring the company's technology under fresh scrutiny.

OpenAI did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment outside regular working hours.