OpenAI to Update ChatGPT With Internet Access

Samuel Altman, CEO of OpenAI, appears for testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law May 16, 2023 in Washington, DC.

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Artificial intelligence (AI) sensation ChatGPT is set to get another upgrade when it expands its capabilities to include up-to-date web browsing, one of the updates that OpenAI is rolling out for the chatbot.

Key Takeaways

  • OpenAI update lets ChatGPT browse the internet to help it generate up-to-date text.
  • The update is for paid ChatGPT Plus users.
  • ChatGPT plugins will give access to Expedia, Instacart, OpenTable and other services.
  • Altman assures Congress that AI tools are tested internally, and reviewed externally before release.

While ChatGPT has been wowing users with its abilities to generate text, its access to information was limited up to 2021, making it unable to adequately address timely queries. But OpenAI announced users of its paid ChatGPT Plus service will be getting access to a web browser, along with other plugins that will add more access to several popular commercial services.

Internet users can already access some of ChatGPT’s features through its integration into Microsoft’s Bing search engine. But the OpenAI upgrade will let users of the ChatGPT interface get text generation that includes the most up-to-date information from the internet.

The upgrade comes after OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman made his first appearance before Congress. During the Senate hearing on AI technology, Altman said that more powerful AI tools may need government regulation, like licensing and testing requirements for models that meet a certain threshold of capability. 

Plugins Will Offer ChatGPT Access to Commercial Services

The web browsing feature isn’t the only upgrade that OpenAI has announced for ChatGPT Plus users. It’s also expanding access to plugins that will connect ChatGPT to several other popular internet services, including travel services Expedia and Kayak, grocery shopping app Instacart, computational power from Wolfram, restaurant booking app OpenTable and workflow automation service Zapier.

In a post on its website, OpenAI said that paid users would be seeing the new features over the next week.

Altman Assures Congress of Testing Procedures, Says AI Not Ready to Take Most Jobs

In his testimony, Altman stressed that OpenAI’s models undergo extensive testing and external reviews from experts before their release.

“Our deployment practices involve cautiously and gradually releasing new AI models—with substantial safeguards in place—to gradually larger groups of people, making continuous improvements based on the lessons learned,” Altman said in his written testimony.

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  1. OpenAI. "ChatGPT plugins."

  2. Senate Judiciary Committee. “Written Testimony of Sam Altman, Chief Executive Officer, OpenAI, Before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, & the Law.”

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