ChatGPT, the popular chatbot from OpenAI, is now the fastest growing Internet application in history with a record 100 million monthly active users in January, according to a new report by Swiss investment bank UBS.
This comes as web traffic at developer knowledge-sharing platform StackOverflow slumped 11.5% to 247 million since the launch of ChatGPT. OpenAI, a private company backed by Microsoft Corp., launched ChatGPT as a free web interface in late November.
The AI-powered chatbot became incredibly popular with users thanks to its ability to perform a variety of tasks within seconds. In the U.S. tech hub of Silicon Valley, the conversation tool has virtually sparked off an artificial intelligence (AI) ‘arms race.’
13M ChatGPT users per day
Citing data from analytics firm Similarweb, UBS said in its report that the number of people using ChatGPT averaged about 13 million per day in January – double the number recorded in December. These are all distinct individuals, or unique users, it stated.
“In 20 years following the internet space, we cannot recall a faster ramp in a consumer internet app,” UBS analysts noted, according to Reuters.
By comparison, TikTok took about nine months after its global launch to get to 100 million users and Meta’s Instagram two and half years.
ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI. It has been trained on a diverse range of internet text to generate human-like responses to user prompts. The tool is based on OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 language technology, an upgrade of the GPT-3 model released in 2020.
The chatbot was trained with a lot of data, from books and articles to conversations. It can understand a variety of topics and contexts, and can be fine-tuned for multiple language tasks such as question answering, language translation, and text summarization.
ChatGPT accumulated more than one million users within its first week. The bot has transformed several industries since it was released just over two months ago. It can write complex essays, poetry, code and even pass MBA exams at the Wharton School of Business.
While ChatGPT is popular with some, others are concerned about the impact it will have on education and other industries. Gmail creator Paul Buchheit said recently ChatGPT-like tech will destroy Google’s $149 billion search engine business and dominance in two years.
StackOverflow traffic declines
Meanwhile, the rise of ChatGPT has started to affect rival StackOverflow, the Naspers-owned question and answer website for professional and enthusiast programmers.
According to Similarweb, the number of people visiting the StackOverflow website fell 11.5% just weeks after the launch of ChatGPT. On average, users dropped from almost 279 million in November 2022 to 247.4 million by the end of December 2022.
StackOverflow dropped 30 positions in the “Programming and Developer Software” websites category, falling from the 202nd position in October 2022 to 229th by the end of December 2022. It is the company’s lowest ranking in that category since October 2019, the data says.
Extremely interesting stat shared by @amasad on Moment of Zen
Didn't believe it, had to go look myself
Yup – Stack overflow's traffic down 11% since ChatGPT launch (from SimilarWeb) pic.twitter.com/rZylXM4FTq
— Rachel Woods (@rachel_l_woods) February 1, 2023
The website serves as a platform for users to ask and answer questions, and, through membership and active participation, to vote questions and answers up or down similar to Reddit. They can also edit questions and answers in a fashion similar to a Wiki.
In December, StackOverflow banned the use of answers generated using ChatGPT, citing concerns about the accuracy of such responses.
“…because the average rate of getting correct answers from ChatGPT is too low, the posting of answers created by ChatGPT is substantially harmful to the site and to users who are asking or looking for correct answers,” the company said in a statement.
As MetaNews previously reported, the computational resources required to run ChatGPT over large scales are very costly. OpenAI has now launched a paid subscription service known as ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month, hoping that will help to cover costs.