Thanks to how popular it’s become, the AI text generator ChatGPT has often been “at capacity” recently, meaning frustratingly long waits.
To solve the problem, ChatGPT has officially announced a subscription model for those who need faster speeds, reliable access, and priority to new features. ChatGPT Plus has been rumored for months, but some of the details around it have finally been made official.
What is ChatGPT Plus?
Details about ChatGPT Plus had been emerging from insiders for weeks, but the official news finally broke on February 1 via a blog post from OpenAI, the company behind the popular generative text AI.
“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,” the blog post states. “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 including drafting and editing content, brainstorming ideas, programming help, and learning new topics.”
Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer (ChatGPT) has become an AI (and investment) darling. It’s a complex and highly accurate machine learning assistant that’s able to carry out natural language “chats.” The latest iteration from its creator, OpenAI (co-founded by Elon Musk), was trained on massive amounts of data gleaned from the internet prior to 2022.
But as people began hitting “at capacity” notices when trying to access it, it became clear that OpenAI needed a solution for those who’d be willing to pay for it.
How much does it cost?
According to the blog post, ChatGPT Plus will cost $20 per month. That’s despite rumors that it would cost much more. Of course, the free version of ChatGPT remains in place, so paying won’t be a requirement to use the service moving forward.
What does ChatGPT Plus include?
According to the blog post, ChatGPT Plus will provide three specific features:
- General access to ChatGPT, even during peak times
- Faster response times
- Priority access to new features and improvements
Having access to ChatGPT during peak times is obviously the major benefit of paying for ChatGPT Plus. With some people having to wait hours to get in, that alone should ensure the popularity of the subscription model. The idea of getting first access to new features and improvements is interesting too, even if what those new features will be remain a mystery.
The biggest advantage, however, is that ChatGPT Plus officially supports GPT-4, bringing lots of new features to the table, including visual input and longer text. GPT-4 claims to be a significant improvement on the previous generation, and is currently reserved only for paid ChatGPT Plus users.
Why does OpenAI want you to pay up?
ChatGPT has high running costs — for hosting, upkeep, upgrading hardware, updates, satisfying its investor, etc. — while its own popularity has led to an immediate need to improve its accessibility and speed to a greater user base. Some estimates peg daily running costs at $100,000, or up to $3 million a month! The premium subscription should help to cover server upgrades.
It’s safe to assume that a premium tier will let OpenAI control bandwidth issues, especially during peak times of the day.
Can I subscribe to ChatGPT Plus now?
No, not yet. Currently ChatGPT Plus is in early access phase, which means it’s by invitation only to a select group of users on its waitlist.
That fact that we got an official announcement could mean that ChatGPT Plus will be available widely soon, but OpenAI has not provided a timetable on when that will happen.
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