Investing in your conversations: ChatGPT Plus
Table of contents
- Where it all began
- So, should you be paying $20 a month for ChatGPT Plus?
- ChatGPT Plus features explained
- How do you sign up for ChatGPT Plus?
- ChatGPT Plus - what is still missing?
- Turbocharged AI at your fingertips, albeit at a price
In r/OpenAI, Redditors often passionately argue about the products that AI research and development companies offer.
OpenAI - founded in 2015 by a bunch of Silicon Valley evangelists - has become the world’s most talked about company in the past six months. At the center of the conversation storm sits GPT, OpenAI’s large language AI model that powers conversational bots like ChatGPT.
When OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, the subreddit blew up. Everyone was discussing how amazing or awful ChatGPT was, and how its responses were either amazing, creepy, or downright inaccurate.
Then in February 2023, OpenAI introduced a subscription plan for ChatGPT, called, unsurprisingly, ChatGPT Plus. The internet was once again thrown into a tizzy, including Reddit. Many saw this as an open cash grab, but others saw it as a productivity booster. One Twitter user said that ChatGPT Plus helped save his dog’s life after the vet couldn’t diagnose her symptoms.
So when Redditor NTHUShowLo got mixed reactions when they asked if ChatGPT Plus was worth it. Some said paying for the subscription was a “no brainer” and it saved them “considerable amounts of time”. Some felt that they had been “robbed”, and the charging price was “slightly greedy.”
If reading the reactions about ChatGPT Plus made you more confused than you were when you started, you are not alone. But that is the beauty of emergent technologies: they are never unanimously accepted.
Think of tech disruptors like the iPhone, Google Search, Electric Cars, or even Email. They all started their journey with mixed reactions. But with each iteration, it got better, and eventually became part of our lives.
So, should you be paying $20 a month for ChatGPT Plus?
Let’s first try to understand what ChatGPT Plus is. For $20 per month, OpenAI says that this paid subscription tier unlocks:
- Uninterrupted access to ChatGPT, regardless of peak times
- Overall faster response times
- Priority access to all new features and improvements
In layman's terms, this means you can expect better access and quick answers from the AI chatbot. While subscribing to ChatGPT Plus will mostly do away with the oft-frustrating ‘out of capacity’ issues, OpenAI clarifies that some widespread outages may still affect every user.
Moreover, if you are in the EU, UK, or Turkey, you are eligible for a refund if you cancel your subscription within 14 days of purchase.
Comparing the free and paid versions give us a broader picture:
ChatGPT Plus features explained
What does paying for the 'Plus' tier give you? We've collated the details from OpenAI and several tech companies that are using ChatGPT Plus:
- Consistent access to ChatGPT: If you are a ChatGPT Plus user, you get access to the AI Chatbot, even in times of high demand.
- Faster response times: Users have reported ChatGPT Plus, especially the latest one powered by GPT-4, to be twice as fast as the normal (read, free) tier. This is pivotal for time-sensitive use cases.
- Higher Thresholds: Paying for ChatGPT also unlocks higher limits for messaging. OpenAI currently moderates this limit to between 25-50 messages per 4 hours. Users noticed higher limits on the Plus version, though this is not explicitly clarified by OpenAI.
- ‘Turbo’ mode: You get access to a speed-optimized LLM - dubbed 'Turbo' - when you opt for ChatGPT Plus. This is still in early access/alpha, so the speed increases and quality of responses are still unclear. But in theory, this should provide even faster and more reliable outputs from ChatGPT.
- Access to new features: In the past six months, ChatGPT has received more than six updates, fixing major issues and introducing several enhancements. New features like ChatGPT AI Plugins were also introduced via these updates. With ChatGPT Plus, you are first in line to access all these cutting-edge features.
- Priority Support: With ChatGPT Plus, you get 24x7 priority support via phone or email from OpenAI.
- TL;DR: Think of this paid subscription as an HOV lane on the highway. You get faster output generation and more consistent answers. You don't have to wait in a queue to get your questions responded to. You also get first dibs on every new feature set.
How do you sign up for ChatGPT Plus?
ChatGPT Plus was initially released for US users. But it is now available to most of the world. Here's how you can upgrade to ChatGPT Plus if you are already a user:
- Open the ChatGPT website and log into your account.
- The ‘Upgrade to Plus’ button is towards the bottom left of your screen. If you’re on mobile, expand the hamburger menu and select that option.
- Click ‘Upgrade Plan’.
- Enter your credit card information and click ‘Subscribe’.
ChatGPT Plus - What is still missing?
OpenAI is still experimenting with the maximum allowed prompts that you get per day. Using ChatGPT Plus does not increase this limit. GPT-4, the large language model that ChatGPT runs on, has recently halved the usage to 50 messages per 4 hours.
Microsoft's ChatGPT-powered Bing chatbot accepts a maximum of 6 chat turns per session, and 60 chats per day. This is regardless if you are a free or a paid ChatGPT user.
While choosing ChatGPT Plus unlocks faster performance, it is still unclear how much faster it is when compared to the free tier. OpenAI does not specify it either in their ChatGPT Plus verbiage.
As of writing this article, some of GPT-4’s most standout features, like imasge-analysis capabilities, are still unavailable, even with the ChatGPT Plus tier.
Lastly, investing in a paid subscription does not alleviate ChatGPT’s root problems, such as issues with privacy, bias, inaccuracy, racist or sexist responses, or accessing user-copyrighted material to produce results that can be regarded as plagiarism.
OpenAI, including CEO Sam Altman, has addressed this growing concern and pledged to make ChatGPT better.
Other chatbots like Claude have risen as an ethical alternative to ChatGPT with goals to provide a more “helpful, honest, and harmless” AI experience.
Turbocharged AI at your fingertips, albeit at a price
ChatGPT seems to be able to do almost everything, even though it is only in its infancy. With ChatGPT Plus, OpenAI aims to target a subset of GPT-4's user base who need consistent, faster, and uninterrupted access to the chatbot.
For a variety of users, the added benefits make a lot of sense. Programmers, for example, can generate, summarize, validate, optimize, and troubleshoot code more quicker with ChatGPT Plus.
Businesses can use ChatGPT Plus’ added performance and feature set to provide uninterrupted, high-quality customer service. They can upscale existing automation to boost efficiency to the next level.
Investing early in a market disruptor like AI future-proofs your business - and from what we have seen, may even turn out to be a game changer.
If you’re someone who uses ChatGPT just for fun, investing an additional $20 a month won’t give you something different. The AI chatbot, astonishingly self-aware, agrees:
“If you are interested in purchasing ChatGPT Plus, I would recommend that you carefully consider the features and benefits of the service and compare it to other similar services on the market to ensure that it meets your specific needs and budget. Additionally, it may be helpful to read reviews and ratings from other users who have tried the service to get a better idea of its overall value and effectiveness.”