OpenAI will soon test a paid version of its hit ChatGPT bot


If you’re eager to use ChatGPT for work, you might soon have the option. OpenAI has shared a waitlist for a experimental ChatGPT Professional service that, for a fee, would effectively remove the limits on the popular chatbot. The AI tool would always be available, with no throttling and as many messages as necessary. The startup hasn’t said when the pilot program might launch, and it’s asking would-be participants for feedback on pricing.

OpenAI isn’t shy about the reasoning behind its pro offering. As TechCrunch notes, the company said on its Discord server that it’s “starting to think” about how it will make money from ChatGPT and keep the technology viable in the “long-term.” CEO Sam Altman recently pointed out that ChatGPT costs OpenAI a few cents for every chat, making it impractical to keep the bot completely free. While Reuters sources say OpenAI anticipates making $200 million in revenue this year, it also reportedly wants to earn $1 billion in 2024 — subscriptions might play an important role in that growth.

Whether there’s a sizable audience for ChatGPT Professional is unclear. The existing version had more than one million users as of early last month, but it’s uncertain how many of those are ‘serious’ users versus enthusiasts and curious onlookers. Schools and even AI conferences have banned the bot. Microsoft (a major OpenAI backer) is rumored to be integrating ChatGPT into its Bing search engine as soon as March, however, and investors have even tried using the technology as part of their workflows. The pilot could be crucial for gauging real-world demand, not to mention setting the prices needed to turn a profit.

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