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OpenAI will allow ChatGPT to surf the internet with plugins

It’s no secret that ChatGPT is one of the most sophisticated and highly advanced AI chatbots out there, thanks in part due to its conversational abilities. However, until recently, the chatbot’s inability to access the internet and retrieve real-time information was a major limitation. Now, following the release of GPT 4, OpenAI is rolling out plugins for ChatGPT, allowing it to interact with 3rd-party APIs and surf the internet for real-time events.

Before the release of these plugins, ChatGPT was limited to discussing events that occurred before 2021, when GPT-3’s training data was compiled. However, with the new update, the chatbot can now retrieve real-time information such as sports scores, stock prices, breaking news, and even specific knowledge-based information, such as internal company documents or personal cloud. Additionally, OpenAI plans to allow the chatbot to act on the user’s behalf, effectively transforming it into a virtual assistant.

“Users have been requesting plugins since we launched ChatGPT (and many developers are experimenting with similar ideas) because they unlock a vast range of possible use cases. Today, we will begin extending plugin alpha access to users and developers from our waitlist,” says OpenAI’s blog post.

How does the new model work?

The new model is essentially an intelligent API caller that can proactively call the appropriate API based on an API specification and the natural language description. For instance, if a user asks which flight to Bali is the cheapest, the model may call a flight booking API and generate a user-facing answer combining the API data and its natural language capabilities.

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Initially, OpenAI is rolling out plugin access to a small group of users. There are currently 11 plugins available for external sites, including Expedia, OpenTable, Kayak, Klarna Shopping, and Zapier. Further, OpenAI is also providing some of its plugins, including one for interpreting code and another called “Browsing,” which enables the chatbot to surf the internet.

Although OpenAI has put safeguards in place, including limited availability of the plugins, some experts are concerned about letting the chatbot perform actions on behalf of users. However, users who want to try out the new plugins can join the waitlist on OpenAI’s website.

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