ChatGPT has been growing at a rate much, much faster than TikTok or any other popular app or service. According to a new study by analytics firm UBS (via Reuters and CBS), the OpenAI-developed chatbot was on pace to reach over 100 million monthly active users in January. The chatbot only became available to the public on November 30th last year, but its rise to fame has apparently been meteoric. Within its first month of availability, it already boasted 57 million monthly active users, the study said. By January, it was already being visited by around 13 million individual users a day.
In comparison, it took TikTok nine months after its global debut to reach 100 million monthly users despite its popularity, especially among the younger generation. UBS analyst Lloyd Walmsley also pointed out that Meta’s Instagram had been around for two-and-a-half years before reaching that point. It remains to be seen, however, if the chatbot can maintain this level of interest in the coming months. “The next question is obviously what its staying power will be. There may be an element of people just coming to look,” Walmsley added.
ChatGPT provides users with natural-sounding human-like responses to queries, so much so that educators are concerned that it could be used by students to cheat. While it still has serious accuracy problems — “Models like ChatGPT have a notorious tendency to spew biased, harmful, and factually incorrect content,” MIT’s Tech Review wrote in a piece — there isn’t another public chatbot with comparable capabilities. It has reportedly rattled Google’s execs to the point that they decided to declare “code red” and accelerated the company’s AI development. The tech giant is working on a few potential ChatGPT competitors, including a chatbot for search, and is aiming to showcase 20 AI products this year.
ChatGPT remains free to use at the moment, and OpenAI doesn’t seem to have any plans to completely lock access to it behind a paywall. However, the startup does intend to start charging for the service and has already started testing a paid ChatGPT plan for $20 per month, which offers faster response times and priority access to new features.
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