ChatGPT went down on Wednesday morning — and the timing of its outage couldn’t have been more unfortunate.
While OpenAI’s world-beating chatbot suffered its second major outage in as many weeks, big tech executives were convening in Washington to plead their case to lawmakers over the future of AI.
Among several notable figures in attendance was Sam Altman, CEO of the AI startup — who probably hoped to put on a better face amidst increased scrutiny over ChatGPT’s falling user traffic for the past several months.
According to OpenAI’s status page, the issue, described as “elevated error rates and increased latency,” was being investigated starting at around 9am EST. Then, about an hour later, an update acknowledged an “outage for most conversations with ChatGPT.”
It would take nearly two hours since the troubleshooting began before the incident was declared “resolved” — a hefty length of time for any site to go down, nevermind with Congress looking to you as an industry leader.
Needless to say, it’s not the best look for the world’s (diminishingly) hottest AI product, especially since these outages have apparently spiked in frequency over the past few weeks.
The last outage of note occurred on August 31, during which the service “severely degraded.”
But only two days before that, ChatGPT had suffered yet another “major outage,” which blocked users from accessing the web UI entirely.
To add to OpenAI’s worries, the chatbot continues to bleed users for the third month in a row, after reporting in July its first decline in web traffic since its release.
In Washington, Altman was joined by other industry titans including tech hyphenate Elon Musk, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang.
The meeting, known as the AI Insight Forum, was chiefly organized by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“We all share the same incentives of getting this right,” Altman said after the closed-door meeting, as quoted by The New York Times.
We’ll have to wait and see how sincere he’s being this time around. Altman has once before stressed the urgent need to regulate AI to lawmakers — only to turn around and throw a tantrum over the EU doing just that.
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