OpenAI Lets Mom-and-Pop Shops Customize ChatGPT

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OpenAI said on Monday that it has created a service that allows individuals and small businesses to build customized versions of its popular online chatbot ChatGPT and instantly share them on the internet.

Through a new service called “GPTs,” anyone can quickly customize the chatbot for a particular task without help from additional software or computer code. The owner of a small bed-and-breakfast, for instance, could build a chatbot that answers questions for anyone who stays there.

“You can imagine someone building a GPT that specializes in teaching someone a new language or gives interior design advice,” Peter Deng, OpenAI’s vice president of consumer and enterprise product, said in an interview.

OpenAI, the San Francisco artificial intelligence start-up, has accelerated the release of its A.I tools in recent weeks. In September, it folded its DALL-E image generator into ChatGPT and released a new version of its popular chatbot that interacts with people using spoken words, much like Apple’s Siri digital assistant.

ChatGPT attracted hundreds of millions of users after it was introduced at the end of last year, wowing people with the way it answered questions, wrote term papers and discussed almost any topic. Several other companies, including Google and the start-up Anthropic, released similar chatbots. Now, OpenAI is trying to push ahead of its rivals.

The new GPTs service is available to anyone who uses ChatGPT Plus, a version of the chatbot that sells for $20 a month.

Millions of seasoned software developers are already using ChatGPT’s underlying technology, GPT-4, to build their own applications, including everything from automated tutors to search engines. The new GPTs service is aimed at a different audience: individuals and small businesses with no experience as software developers.

Anyone can build a customized chatbot by providing a handful of instructions and, in some cases, uploading a few documents. When a bed-and-breakfast owner designs a bot that answers questions for guests, for instance, they might upload the B&B’s existing guest manual.

They might also ask the service to create a logo for their new bot using OpenAI’s image generator.

Mr. Deng acknowledged that any bot created with the service will be prone to mistakes. Trained on massive amounts of data culled from across the internet, technologies like ChatGPT sometimes “hallucinate,” or make stuff up.

Because the technology can also be used to generate offensive, untruthful and even dangerous material, OpenAI said it will vet all new bots created with GPTs and disallow any that violate its terms of service. In the coming weeks, it will offer these bots through an app store similar to the one that Apple offers for iPhone applications.

The company also said that anyone using the service can request that their documents and other data not be used to train future versions of OpenAI’s technology.

OpenAI is facing multiple lawsuits from writers, artists and computer programmers who argue that the company illegally used their work to build its A.I. systems.

The company said that over 100 million people actively use ChatGPT each week, and over two million software developers use GPT-4 and other services to build new apps.

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