Since its debut last year, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been the tech’s hottest product. It launched the so-called “AI revolution”, launched many new companies and experienced explosive growth globally. However, it looks like the honeymoon phase is finally over.
The Washington Post has reported that the app experienced its first-ever drop in user numbers last month. In fact, mobile and desktop traffic to the bot’s website fell nearly 10% globally in June. Downloads of the bot’s iPhone app also declined. It’s unclear exactly why the chatbot is experiencing such a drastic drop in user engagement, although people have theories.
The Post’s reporting is primarily based on analysis from Similarweb, a web analytics and market intelligence company. The report shows an explosion in web traffic after the bot launched last November; after that, engagement grew at a meteoric pace, only to slow in March and then crash in May. Visitor engagement per visit to the ChatGPT website has also decreased, the report notes, meaning people visiting the site are spending less time there. Similarly, the report notes that another popular AI chatbot, Character.AI, also saw its engagement levels drop in June.
So what exactly is going on here? Is this AI penchant for spitting weird nonsense and disinformation who is causing people headaches? Is it the vaguely menacing quagmire of legal issues that weigh on AI-generated content? Or are people tired of talking to computers?
Although we don’t know for sure, Similarweb claims that this could be a sign that the “initial (AI) novelty has worn off.” Another possibility raised by the Post is that students, who used the app to navigate their way through higher education, took summer vacations, leading to an overall drop in engagement.
Gizmodo has reached out to OpenAI for comment and will update this story if they respond.