ChatGPT owner OpenAI fixes bug that exposed users’ chat histories

According to reports, the titles of the conversations were visible but the substance of other users’ conversations was not.

OpenAI and ChatGPT logos
Since ChatGPT was launched, the software has seen meteoric growth [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

ChatGPT owner OpenAI says it has fixed a bug that caused a “significant issue” of a small set of users being able to see the titles of others’ conversation history with the viral chatbot.

As a result of the fix, users could not access their chat history on March 20, Chief Executive Sam Altman said in a tweet on Wednesday.

“We had a significant issue in ChatGPT due to a bug in an open-source library,” Altman said. “We feel awful about this.”

An OpenAI spokesperson told Bloomberg News “the titles were visible in the user-history sidebar that typically appears on the left side of the ChatGPT webpage … [but] the substance of other users’ conversations was not visible”.

Since ChatGPT was launched, it has seen meteoric growth with millions of people using the software for various activities – from streamlining the coding process or developing architectural designs to how we use search engines, write essays, draft messages, songs, novels and jokes.

Each conversation is automatically saved and ChatGPT labels the tab based on the subject of the first query.

On Monday, users highlighted that conversations appear in their history, although they could not see the content.

Altman said the company “will follow up with a technical postmortem”.

Last week, Microsoft Corp-backed OpenAI launched its artificial intelligence model GPT-4, an upgrade from GPT-3.5, which was made available to users through ChatGPT on November 30.

The integration of OpenAI’s GPT technology into Microsoft’s Bing has driven people to the little-used search engine, according to data from analytics firm Similarweb.

The release last year of ChatGPT has caused a sprint in the technology sector to put AI into more users’ hands. The hope is to reshape how people work and win business in the process.

Last week, Google and Microsoft made a flurry of announcements on AI two days apart. The companies are putting draft-writing technology into their word processors and other collaboration software, as well as marketing-related tools for web developers to build their own AI-based applications.

Bard’s rollout

Google on Tuesday began the public release of its chatbot Bard, seeking users and feedback.

Asked whether competitive dynamics were behind Bard’s rollout, Jack Krawczyk, a senior product director, said Google was focused on users. Internal and external testers have turned to Bard for “boosting their productivity, accelerating their ideas, really fueling their curiosity”, he said.

Accuracy remains a concern. Last month, a promotional video showed the programme answering a question incorrectly, shaving $100bn off Alphabet’s market value.

“We know the limitations of the technology and so we want to be very deliberate at the pace at which we roll this out,” said Krawczyk.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies