OpenAI launches paid-for, premium version of ChatGPT after it is regularly swamped by users

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 02 February 2023 16:42 GMT
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OpenAI’s ChatGPT language model offers users a way to engage with advanced AI in a conversational way
OpenAI’s ChatGPT language model offers users a way to engage with advanced AI in a conversational way (Getty Images/ iStock)

OpenAI, the creators of viral AI system ChatGPT, is launching a premium and paid-for version of the system.

The free app will remain available. But it is liable to go offline during busy periods – and, during those, the people who have paid its monthly fee will have priority access.

That is just one of the perks offered in return for the $20 subscription to “ChatGPT Plus”.

Users will get “general access to ChatGPT, even during peak times alongside “faster response times” and “Priority access to new features and improvements”, OpenAI said.

Even as it has become incredibly popular, ChatGPT has remained free. OpenAI said it intends to preserve that, while also encouraging users to sign up for the paid-for version.

“We love our free users and will continue to offer free access to ChatGPT,” it said in a blog post announcing the new service. “By offering this subscription pricing, we will be able to help support free access availability to as many people as possible.

Other subscriptions may be released in the future. The company referenced “lower-cost plans, business plans, and data packs for more availability”, as well as offering an API so that it can be used by other apps.

Every question that is asked of ChatGPT is thought to be quite expensive. Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief executive, has said that the average chat costs “single-digits cents”, but estimates from analytics firm Similarweb indicate that it could be getting as many as 13 million users each day.

The new system is one of a number of ways that OpenAI is looking to mitigate the dangers of the huge success of the app. It follows the launch this week of a new tool intended to try and assess whether a piece of text has been generated by an AI system, amid fears it could be used to cheat on academic work and trick people into conversing with computers they believe are human.

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