ChatGPT turns to business as popularity wanes

OpenAI on Monday said it was launching a business version of ChatGPT as its artificial intelligence sensation grapples with declining usership nine months after its historic debut.

ChatGPT Enterprise will offer business customers a premium version of the bot, with “enterprise grade” security and privacy enhancements from previous versions, OpenAI said in a blog post.

The question of data security has become an important one for OpenAI, with major companies, including Apple, Amazon and Samsung, blocking employees from using ChatGPT out of fear that sensitive information will be divulged.

“Today marks another step towards an AI assistant for work that helps with any task, is customized for your organization, and that protects your company data,” OpenAI said.

The ChatGPT business version resembles Bing Chat Enterprise, an offering by Microsoft, which uses the same OpenAI technology through a major partnership.

ChatGPT Enterprise will be powered by GPT-4, OpenAI’s highest performing model, much like ChatGPT Plus, the company’s subscription version for individuals, but business customers will have special perks, including better speed.

“We believe AI can assist and elevate every aspect of our working lives and make teams more creative and productive,” the company said.

It added that companies including Carlyle, The Estée Lauder Companies and PwC were already early adopters of ChatGPT Enterprise.

The release came as ChatGPT is struggling to maintain the excitement that made it the world’s fastest downloaded app in the weeks after its release.

That distinction was taken over last month by Threads, the Twitter rival from Facebook-owner Meta.

According to analytics company Similarweb, ChatGPT traffic dropped by nearly 10 percent in June and again in July, falls that could be attributed to school summer break, it said.

Similarweb estimates that roughly one quarter of ChatGPT’s users worldwide fall in the 18-24 demographic.

OpenAI is also facing pushback from news publishers and other platforms — including X, as Twitter is now known, and Reddit — that are now blocking OpenAI web crawlers from mining their data for AI model training.

A pair of studies by pollster Pew Research Center released on Monday also pointed to doubts about AI and ChatGPT in particular.

Two-thirds of the US-based respondents who had heard of ChatGPT say their main concern is that the government will not go far enough in regulating its use.

The research also found that the use of ChatGPT for learning and work tasks has ticked up from 12 percent of those who had heard of ChatGPT in March to 16 percent in July.

Pew also reported that 52 percent of Americans say they feel more concerned than excited about the increased use of artificial intelligence.

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