By: Daniel Echoda
Barely a year has passed since OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a creation by the U.S.-based artificial intelligence (AI) and research company, which is also responsible for DALL-E 2 and Whisper, the AI art generator and automatic speech recognition system.
ChatGPT quickly rose to fame as one of the first chatbots to capture the hearts of the general public. Its success can be attributed to its utilization of neural networks and natural language processing, enabling it to engage in natural, human-like conversations.
Moreover, it was among the first chatbots to offer widespread accessibility with a simple web interface, eliminating the need for downloads or installations — at least until recently.
Within just two months of its launch, ChatGPT garnered a staggering 100 million monthly active users. To put this into perspective, popular platforms like TikTok and Telegram took 9 months and 5 years, and 1 month, respectively, to reach such a milestone. ChatGPT only trails behind Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads, which achieved this feat in a mere 5 days, largely due to leveraging an existing user base.
These accomplishments led a UBS study to label ChatGPT as “the fastest growing consumer application in history” in January, earlier this year.
However, these achievements came at a cost. Reports indicate that maintaining ChatGPT incurs a daily expense of approximately $700,000. This financial burden is shouldered by OpenAI, which initially began as a non-profit organization dedicated to “helping humanity,” as stated on their website. Like any non-profit, OpenAI seeks to make life easier for others, but the task is not easy. It faces the challenge of covering this cost.
Financial difficulties have begun to cast a shadow over OpenAI, raising concerns of potential bankruptcy by 2024. One factor contributing to this uncertainty is the recent decline in ChatGPT’s user base.
According to SimilarWeb, the number of users has steadily decreased since May, with no signs of improvement as of July. This decline can be attributed, in part, to the emergence of competing AI solutions, offering users alternative choices in the realm of artificial intelligence.
It is worrisome that this prediction of financial instability arises less than a year after ChatGPT’s inception. The future remains uncertain, and whether OpenAI’s financial woes will lead to ChatGPT’s end remains to be seen. We can only hope, but time will tell the fate of this pioneering AI platform.