OpenAI has announced the launch of a paid version of ChatGPT that, for $20 a month, will allow you to...uh, keep using ChatGPT, I guess.
In a blog post published Wednesday, the research organization announced the release of “ChatGPT Plus,” a pilot subscription plan for its uncanny little toy. What do you get for your monthly subscription fee? Well, to be honest, not a whole helluva lot—at least, not yet.
OpenAI says the premium version of its chatbot will include “general access to ChatGPT, even during peak times” (this is supposed to be a perk because the chatbot has been known to crash due to popularity), faster response times (also good, because the bot can lag), and “priority access to new features and improvements.” That “priority access” may sound good, but OpenAI fails to specify what any of those upcoming features or improvements will actually be.
Instead of specifics, OpenAI gives readers an earful of hopeful rhetoric about the future that sounds like it was written by ChatGPT:
“We launched ChatGPT as a research preview so we could learn more about the system’s strengths and weaknesses and gather user feedback to help us improve upon its limitations. Since then, millions of people have given us feedback, we’ve made several important updates and we’ve seen users find value across a range of professional use-cases...We plan to refine and expand this offering based on your feedback and needs.”
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Oh, also, the original ChatGPT will continue to be free to use, so you don’t have to subscribe if you don’t want to.
Truthfully, why anyone would shell out cash for this when all OpenAI is offering is the possibility of first dibs at future features and updates is sort of a hanging question. It’s also not entirely clear who this subscription service is marketed towards. Are casual users (like the ones who wrote this poem) supposed to be so excited to keep using the chatbot that they jump at the chance to spend two Netflix subscriptions worth of cash on a slightly better version?
Of course, OpenAI has made it clear that it’s far from done with its expansionist ambitions. The organization says it is “actively exploring options for lower-cost plans, business plans, and data packs for more availability,” which means there will likely be more monetization tiers in the future that make slightly more sense than this one.