OpenAI has just announced the introduction of support for plugins for its AI chatbot ChatGPT. ChatGPT, the generative AI tool based on a generative pre-trained transformer (GPT), is a language model that utilises machine learning to produce conversational text and has been amongst the biggest talking points in technology since its first public preview last year. Until now, ChatGPT only had access to the training model it had been fed, which was limited to information up to 2021. However, with the introduction of plugin support, the chatbot can browse the internet for relevant information, interact with specific websites, and even perform actions on them based on instructive prompts.
Microsoft-backed OpenAI has announced through a blog post that it will be gradually rolling out plugins in ChatGPT, allowing the chatbot to interact with third party websites and sources on the internet. The first set of plugins released to select users for testing include ones created by Expedia, FiscalNote, Instacart, KAYAK, Klarna, Milo, OpenTable, Shopify, Slack, Speak, Wolfram, and Zapier.
Additionally, ChatGPT has also released two plugins of its own that include a web browser, and a code interpreter. The web browser plugin, most importantly, is one that changes the potential of the chatbot drastically. Until now, ChatGPT was only able to access a training model which only had scouted information up to 2021. Now, with the introduction of the web browser plugin, the chatbot will get access to real-time information from the internet.
Meanwhile, the code interpreter plugin, is an experimental Python interpreter that works in a firewalled sandbox execution environment. The plugin can use Python and handle uploads and downloads. This would allow users to solve mathematical problems, perform data analysis, data visualisation, and convert files, amongst other logical computations.
OpenAI is initially rolling out the plugins to a small set of users that include trusted developers and ChatGPT Plus subscribers. The introduction brings capabilities to the chatbot similar to Microsoft’s application of GPT-4 on its search engine Bing, the underlying system behind the latest version of ChatGPT. However, this goes a step beyond in terms of not just allowing the chatbot to have access to real-time information but also allowing the system to perform actions on behalf of the user by binding to APIs. However, concerns have been raised over the harmful potential of such automated action performers, yet OpenAI says that it has put in place “several safeguards” to limit misuse.