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On Monday, OpenAI began opening up ChatGPT to users without an account. It described the move as part of its mission to “make tools like ChatGPT broadly available so that people can experience the benefits of AI.” It also gives the company more training data (for those who don’t opt out) and perhaps nudges more users into creating accounts and subscribing for superior GPT-4 access instead of the older GPT-3.5 model free users get.

I tested the instant access, which — as advertised — allowed me to start a new GPT-3.5 thread without any login info. The chatbot’s standard “How can I help you today?” screen appears, with optional buttons to sign up or log in. Although I saw it today, OpenAI says it’s gradually rolling out access, so check back later if you don’t see the option yet.

OpenAI says it added extra safeguards for accountless users, including blocking prompts and image generations in more categories than logged-in users. When asked for more info on what new categories it’s blocking, an OpenAI spokesperson told me that, while developing the feature, it considered how logged-out GPT-3.5 users could potentially introduce new threats.

The spokesperson added that the teams in charge of detecting and stopping abuse of its AI models have been involved in creating the new feature and will adjust accordingly if unexpected threats emerge. Of course, it still blocks everything it does for signed-in users, as detailed in its moderation API.

You can opt out of data training for your prompts when not signed in. To do so, click on the little question mark to the right of the text box, then select Settings and turn off the toggle for “Improve the model for everyone.”

OpenAI says more than 100 million people across 185 countries use ChatGPT weekly. Those are staggering numbers for an 18-month-old service from a company many people still hadn’t heard of two years ago. Today’s move gives those hesitant to create an account an incentive to take the world-changing chatbot for a spin, boosting those numbers even more.

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