OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the wildly popular artificial intelligence chatbot launched in November, saw monthly website visits decline for the third month in August. However, there are signs that the slide may be ending.
According to analytics firm Similarweb, worldwide desktop and mobile website visits to the ChatGPT website decreased by 3.2% to 1.43 billion in August, following approximately 10% drops from each of the previous two months. Moreover, the average time spent by visitors on the site declined from 8.7 minutes in March to seven minutes in August.
ChatGPT generated a frenzy of interest when it was first released, with starry-eyed users posting examples of the bot producing computer code, college-level essays and poems, and halfway-decent jokes on social media. However, despite the hype, there’s an argument to be made that the chatbot would always need help to live up to its promise, given its limited training data and limitations in interpreting natural language.
This week, it was revealed that ChatGPT’s language model had a significant flaw that could allow hackers to gain access to its users’ personal information. The problem lies in the fact that while the chatbot can read information from the internet, it only knows what has been taught through its training data. This means that if a hacker somehow finds a way to obtain a large amount of user data, they could use it to create an account and hijack the user’s identity.
It’s unclear if hackers exploited the vulnerability. Still, it underscores that even though ChatGPT is a free service, the company behind it needs to be more immune to the problems facing many other AI companies, especially regarding security.
But a small bright spot for ChatGPT emerged in August, with the number of worldwide unique visitors rising slightly to 180.5 million from 180 million in June. This uptick can be partly attributed to the return of schools in September, and it’s expected that the number of students using the chatbot will increase with their need for homework help.
The company behind the chatbot, which is a free service, will likely remain unfazed by the dip in traffic. Its business model involves making the technology available to other businesses for use in their apps and services, and it has already garnered partnerships with several high-profile companies.
Whether or not these partners will continue to support the service when its user base starts to shrink remains to be seen. Still, Google’s planned launch of its chatbot powered by ChatGPT’s language models won’t make matters any easier for the startup.
As a result, the popularity of the chatbot will start to wane as the market grows more competitive and users are exposed to competing options, including the likes of Google’s Bard chatbot and Microsoft’s Bing search engine. In the meantime, users can check out Synthedia to see what the chatbot can do and spread its karma.