WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Today the rate of change is fast, especially since digital connectivity now allows billions of people to download or experience something as soon as it’s launched.
According to reporting from Reuters, OpenAI’s ChatGPT is now the fastest-growing app in human history, reaching an estimated 100 million active monthly users in just the two months since its November release.
“In 20 years following the internet space,” UBS analysts reportedly wrote in a note to Reuters, citing a report from web traffic analytics firm SimilarWeb, “we cannot recall a faster ramp in a consumer internet app.”
Per that report, an average of roughly 13 million unique visitors were using ChatGPT per day in January — a jaw-dropping figure, and double the average number of individual users that were using the tech each day in December.
To say this thing has taken off like wildfire hardly cuts it, and VCs have paid attention. Of course, comparing ChatGPT, certainly the newest Silicon Valley darling, to established SV behemoths like Google, Apple, or Meta isn’t totally fair, considering the role that social media in particular has played in ChatGPT’s exponential success. Virality channels didn’t always exist in the way that they do today.
Still, these figures are wildly impressive. Few things stay viral for more than a few days, let alone months, and while new apps and technologies are created all the time, few actually have real holy-shit-this-could-change-the-world value. Generative AI tools do, ChatGPT especially. At the very least, ChatGPT is almost certain to change the internet as we know it, a form of world-building, destroying, and changing in its own right.
Likely also contributing to the AI’s success with users is the fact that it’s completely free, a company decision that has not only encouraged curious netizens to give the chatbot a whirl but also granted OpenAI an absolute mountain of new data with which to train and improve the model. That said, the company just yesterday announced a subscription plan called ChatGPT Plus, a paid tier that for $20 per month offers users access at all times — when there are too many users, the program will turn excess users away — better speed, and “priority access” to feature updates.
And as ChatGPT was the first of its kind to make it to market with this big of a splash, its influence in the AI industry — as well as that of OpenAI’s products across the board — has been cemented. The safety might not be there yet, but the money sure is.