ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot
Alyssa Stringer, Kyle Wiggers
/ 5:50 AM GMT+6:30•November 18, 2023
ChatGPT welcome screen
Image Credits: Leon Neal / Getty Images
ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved into a behemoth used by more than 92% of Fortune 500 companies for more wide-ranging needs.
While there is a more…nefarious side to ChatGPT, it’s clear that AI tools are not going away anytime soon. Since its initial launch nearly a year ago, ChatGPT has hit 100 million weekly active users, and OpenAI is heavily investing in it. What the company is not investing in further is the leadership of former CEO Sam Altman, who on November 17 was ousted in a surprise announcement by the company after the board released a statement that they had lost confidence in Altman’s ability to lead the company. While the search for a new CEO is ongoing, OpenAI’s chief technology officer Mira Murati is filling in as interim CEO.
On November 6, OpenAI held its first developer conference: OpenAI DevDay. During the conference, it announced a slew of updates coming to GPT, including GPT-4 Turbo (super-charged versions of GPT-4, its latest language-writing model), a multimodal API and a GPT store where users can create and monetize their own custom versions of GPT.
GPT-4, which can write more naturally and fluently than previous models, remains largely exclusive to paying ChatGPT users. But you can access GPT-4 for free through Microsoft’s Bing Chat in Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Safari web browsers. Beyond GPT-4 and OpenAI DevDay announcements, OpenAI recently connected ChatGPT to the internet for all users. And with the integration of DALL-E 3, users are also able to generate both text prompts and images right in ChatGPT.
Here’s a timeline of ChatGPT product updates and releases, starting with the latest, which we’ve been updating throughout the year. And if you have any other questions, check out our ChatGPT FAQ here.
Timeline of the most recent ChatGPT updates
Sam Altman ousted as OpenAI’s CEO
Sam Altman has been fired from OpenAI. He will leave the company’s board and step down as CEO, with OpenAI’s chief technology officer Mira Murati stepping in as interim CEO. In a blog post from OpenAI, the company writes that the board “no longer has confidence in [Altman’s] ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
In a statement on X, Altman said working at OpenAI “was transformative” for him and “hopefully the world.”
OpenAI explores how ChatGPT can be used in the classroom
OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap revealed at a San Francisco conference that the company will likely create a team to identify ways AI and ChatGPT can be used in education. This announcement comes at a time when ChatGPT is being criticized by educators for encouraging cheating, resulting in bans in certain school districts.
OpenAI pauses new ChatGPT Plus subscriptions due to a “surge of usage”
Following OpenAI’s Dev Day conference, Sam Altman announced the company is putting a pause on new subscriptions for its premium ChatGPT Plus offering. The temporary hold on sign-ups, as well as the demand for ChatGPT Plus’ new features like making custom GPTS, has led to a slew of resellers on eBay.
ChatGPT gets flagged as potentially unsafe for kids
An independent review from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit advocacy group, found that ChatGPT could potentially be harmful for younger users. ChatGPT got an overall three-star rating in the report, with its lowest ratings relating to transparency, privacy, trust and safety.
OpenAI blames DDoS attack for ChatGPT outage
OpenAI confirmed that a DDoS attack was behind outages affecting ChatGPT and its developer tools. ChatGPT experienced sporadic outages for about 24 hours, resulting in users being unable to log into or use the service.
OpenAI debuts GPT-4 Turbo
OpenAI unveiled GPT-4 Turbo at its first-ever OpenAI DevDay conference. GPT-4 Turbo comes in two versions: one that’s strictly text-analyzing and another that understands the context of both text and images.
GPT-4 gets a fine-tuning
As opposed to the fine-tuning program for GPT-3.5, the GPT-4 program will involve more oversight and guidance from OpenAI teams, the company says — largely due to technical hurdles.
OpenAI’s GPT Store lets you build (and monetize) your own GPT
Users and developers will soon be able to make their own GPT, with no coding experience required. Anyone building their own GPT will also be able to list it on OpenAI’s marketplace and monetize it in the future.
ChatGPT has 100 million weekly active users
After being released nearly a year ago, ChatGPT has 100 million weekly active users. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also revealed that over two million developers use the platform, including more than 92% of Fortune 500 companies.
OpenAI launches DALL-E 3 API, new text-to-speech models
DALL-E 3, OpenAI’s text-to-image model, is now available via an API after first coming to ChatGPT-4 and Bing Chat. OpenAI’s newly released text-to-speech API, Audio API, offers six preset voices to choose from and two generative AI model variants.
OpenAI promises to defend business customers against copyright claims
Bowing to peer pressure, OpenAI it will pay legal costs incurred by customers who face lawsuits over IP claims against work generated by an OpenAI tool. The protections seemingly don’t extend to all OpenAI products, like the free and Plus tiers of ChatGPT.
As OpenAI’s multimodal API launches broadly, research shows it’s still flawed
OpenAI announced that GPT-4 with vision will become available alongside the upcoming launch of GPT-4 Turbo API. But some researchers found that the model remains flawed in several significant and problematic ways.
OpenAI launches API, letting developers build ‘assistants’ into their apps
At its OpenAI DevDay, OpenAI announced the Assistants API to help developers build “agent-like experiences” within their apps. Use cases range from a natural language-based data analysis app to a coding assistant or even an AI-powered vacation planner.
ChatGPT app revenue shows no signs of slowing, but it’s not #1
OpenAI’s chatbot app far outpaces all others on mobile devices in terms of downloads, but it’s surprisingly not the top AI app by revenue. Several other AI chatbots, like “Chat & Ask AI” and “ChatOn — AI Chat Bot Assistant”, are actually making more money than ChatGPT.
ChatGPT tests the ability to upload and analyze files for Plus users
Subscribers to ChatGPT’s Enterprise Plan have reported new beta features, including the ability to upload PDFs to analyze and and ask questions about them directly. The new rollout also makes it so users no longer have to manually select a mode like DALL-E and browsing when using ChatGPT. Instead, users will automatically be switched to models based on the prompt.
ChatGPT officially gets web search
OpenAI has formally launched its internet-browsing feature to ChatGPT, some three weeks after re-introducing the feature in beta after several months in hiatus. The AI chatbot that has historically been limited to data up to September, 2021.
OpenAI integrates DALL-E 3 into ChatGPT
The integration means users don’t have to think so carefully about their text-prompts when asking DALL-E to create an image. Users will also now be able to receive images as part of their text-based queries without having to switch between apps.
Microsoft-affiliated research finds flaws in GPT-4
A Microsoft-affiliated scientific paper looked at the “trustworthiness” — and toxicity — of LLMs, including GPT-4. Because GPT-4 is more likely to follow the instructions of “jailbreaking” prompts, the co-authors claim that GPT-4 can be more easily prompted than other LLMs to spout toxic, biased text.
ChatGPT’s mobile app hits record $4.58M in revenue in September
OpenAI amassed 15.6 million downloads and nearly $4.6 million in gross revenue across its iOS and Android apps worldwide in September. But revenue growth has now begun to slow, according to new data from market intelligence firm Appfigures — dropping from 30% to 20% in September.
ChatGPT can now browse the internet (again)
OpenAI posted on Twitter/X that ChatGPT can now browse the internet and is no longer limited to data before September 2021. The chatbot had a web browsing capability for Plus subscribers back in July, but the feature was taken away after users exploited it to get around paywalls.
September 25, 2023
ChatGPT now has a voice
OpenAI announced that it’s adding a new voice for verbal conversations and image-based smarts to the AI-powered chatbot.
September 21, 2023
Poland opens an investigation against OpenAI
The Polish authority publically announced it has opened an investigation regarding ChatGPT — accusing the company of a string of breaches of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
September 20, 2023
OpenAI unveils DALL-E 3
The upgraded text-to-image tool, DALL-E 3, uses ChatGPT to help fill in prompts. Subscribers to OpenAI’s premium ChatGPT plans, ChatGPT Plus and ChatGPT Enterprise, can type in a request for an image and hone it through conversations with the chatbot — receiving the results directly within the chat app.
September 7, 2023
Opera GX integrates ChatGPT-powered AI
Powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the AI browser Aria launched on Opera in May to give users an easier way to search, ask questions and write code. Today, the company announced it is bringing Aria to Opera GX, a version of the flagship Opera browser that is built for gamers.
The new feature allows Opera GX users to interact directly with a browser AI to find the latest gaming news and tips.
August 31, 2023
OpenAI releases a guide for teachers using ChatGPT in the classroom
OpenAI wants to rehabilitate the system’s image a bit when it comes to education, as ChatGPT has been controversial in the classroom due to plagiarism. OpenAI has offered up a selection of ways to put the chatbot to work in the classroom.