ChatGPT Pro: What is it and what do you get with '$42 subscription' to AI tool?

Pro version of platform will offer 'higher limits and faster performance', says founder

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence software application developed by OpenAI. AFP
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Users have been responding to the news that artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT is set to go premium.

The Microsoft-backed OpenAI revealed this week it would soon start charging for ChatGPT Professional after “starting to think about how to monetise” the tool to “ensure its long-term viability”, it said on its official Discord server.

The tool — until now a free programme that generates original text about virtually any subject in response to a prompt — launched on November 30 and has brought public attention to the possibilities of new advances in AI.

It has been praised for its humanlike responses and ability to correct and amend in reaction to suggestions.

But the service has also stirred fears it poses risks to many industries, from replacing writers and editors to helping kids cheat at schools and universities, with some educational institutions in the US and Australia banning its use.

"Working on a professional version of ChatGPT will offer higher limits and faster performance," said OpenAI president and cofounder Greg Brockman on Twitter.

Why is ChatGPT launching Professional?

ChatGPT has previously reported more than a million users and so far it has been free to use. The company has largely relied on backing and corporate tie-ins to raise funds.

Microsoft is planning to invest $10 billion into OpenAI, which will value the company at nearly $29 billion, according to reports.

But in December, Reuters reported that OpenAI was aiming to make $200 million in revenue this year and $1 billion next year.

What will ChatGPT Professional offer users?

So far, users have been able to access its viral AI-powered chatbot for free, using it to write anything from essays to poetry.

But given the massive interest and demand, the company has had to limit usage.

Gaining access to the site can require long waits and users have a limit on the number of questions and interactions daily to share out access more equitably.

The new ChatGPT Professional will offer an unlimited number of messages, no “blackout”, or unavailability, of windows and a faster response without “throttling” — limiting the number of times a function can be used within a certain time period.

Basically, the pro-version will be ChatGPT with the brakes taken off.

Who can get ChatGPT Professional?

While it may become more widely available in future, OpenAI has invited people to fill out a waiting list form to be selected for the pilot ChatGPT Professional.

The program is still being tested and is not widely available “at this time”, the company said.

"If you are selected, we'll reach out to you to set up a payment process and a pilot," it added. "Please keep in mind that this is an early experimental program that is subject to change and we are not making paid pro access generally available at this time."

How much will ChatGPT Professional cost?

That is as yet unconfirmed.

The Discord post asked potential users questions about the service, such as how much they would be willing to pay for the Professional tool.

Alvin Foo, a marketing technology executive and serial entrepreneur, shared a screenshot he said showed he was being charged $42 a month.

Some said this was too much to fork out, with Parth N calling it “pretty cheeky”.

But others thought it sounded like a reasonable price.

OpenAI was launched in 2015 as a non-profit artificial intelligence research company with Tesla chief executive Elon Musk as its co-chairman.

It said at the time its aims were to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return”.

Updated: January 25, 2023, 6:01 AM