If you opened up what is arguably the world’s favorite AI chatbot today, you might have come across a slightly disturbing message: ChatGPT is missing something but it looks like it could have been worse.
As the alert on the ChatGPT interface explains, “We have restored the chat history of all ChatGPT users and solved the underlying problem, which was caused by a major bug in the open source library.”
This error was large enough that it may have raised two problems. Yesterday OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Twitter:
“We had a major problem with ChatGPT due to a bug in an open source library, a fix for which has now been released and we just finished validating it.”
Altman added that “a small percentage of users were able to see the addresses of other users’ conversation history.”
Seeing the titles of other users’ chat conversations could be confusing for ChatGPT users who didn’t remember the conversations, and because they could only see the titles and not the full context of the AI conversations, they wouldn’t know what they were really about.
“We feel terrible about it,” Altman said in his tweet.
We had a big problem with ChatGPT due to a bug in an open source library, a fix for which has now been released and we just finished validation. A small percentage of users were able to see other users’ chat history addresses. We feel terrible about this.March 22, 2023
It appears that efforts to fix this bug may have required the temporary removal of ChatGPT conversation history. That seems reasonable. Unfortunately, efforts to recover ChatGPT chat logs have not been entirely successful.
The service alert states:
“To ensure that this issue does not recur, users will not be able to retrieve their chat history as of the morning of March 20. We apologize to our users for any difficulties this issue may cause.”
There were no further details about the root cause of the malfunction, though Altmann promised a “technical autopsy.”
Missing what might be a small fraction of your weeks of conversations with ChatGPT probably isn’t much of a concern unless this is the moment ChatGPT showed you the meaning of life completely.
People forget that ChatGPT is a constantly evolving AI platform that is still somewhat experimental and interacts with a lot of non-technical humans. They probably assume that ChatGPT should be as stable as Microsoft Word, for example, which is not likely to lose all the files you created on the morning of March 20th.
The good news is that ChatGPT seems to be back to normal and stable. Even better, Altman on Thursday announced the release of support for ChatGPT plug-ins, which can help ChatGPT work with more third-party tools and expand its overall capability and usefulness. Don’t expect new tools right away. OpenAI has launched a queue to access plugin support.
For your missing chats, you may want to start those chats again. You may find that ChatGPT contains more interesting answers. You can also start experimenting with some of the other cutting-edge AI platforms like Bing that supports ChatGPT and the new Google Bard.