See ya!

Big Drop

Haven't you heard? All the hype surrounding OpenAI's ChatGPT may have finally reached its peak, after losing users for the first time since its release.

Both mobile and desktop traffic to ChatGPT's website dropped by nearly ten percent in June from the month before, according to data from Similarweb. The now-second fastest growing app in history can't grow forever.

Still, the pullback demands an explanation. One compelling yet amusing theory: summer's here, the world is hot as hell, and the kids are out of school. So presumably, ChatGPT's numbers could be suffering from the large absence of cheating students that use the AI chatbot to spitting out entire papers.

Cheat Day

How much merit is there to this theory? Absent more evidence, there's no way to tell for sure.

But let's be blunt: it kinda sounds like industry cope — after all, it implies that ChatGPT's numbers will continue to reach new highs once classes start again.

In another sense, though, it's a somewhat embarrassing narrative for AI diehards. If it's true, it suggests that there's a limited core userbase for AI chatbots.

"If it's school kids, that's a real yellow-red flag on the size of the prize," Bernstein internet analyst Mark Shmulik told Insider. "This idea that if the ChatGPT drop-off is due to students on summer break, that implies a narrower audience and fewer use cases."

"The ChatGPT chart shows what happens when you run out of new users and existing users churn out," he added.

Side Hustles

Still, as Insider notes, ChatGPT is just one facet of OpenAI's ventures.

GPT-4, the large language model tech behind the chatbot, is also used by Microsoft to power its Bing AI search, as part of its multi-billion dollar partnership with the AI startup.

That move seemed to pay off, sort of, and saw the perennially overshadowed search engine briefly get a leg up over Google for the first time in decades.

Meanwhile, traffic to OpenAI's brand new API platform, which allows developers to harness the technology for tools and apps of their own, actually continued to grow, up 3.1 percent from May to June, Similarweb data showed.

Overall, while blaming students sounds like a plausible theory, it really just overshadows bigger questions about the tech's longterm sticking power. And on that point, only more time will tell.

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