OpenAI LP today introduced a plugin feature for ChatGPT that will enable developers to extend the chatbot with new capabilities.
The feature will initially become available to a “small set” of users, according to a company blog post. OpenAI plans to make the technology available to not only developers but also customers of ChatGPT Plus. That’s a paid version of OpenAI’s chatbot with faster response times and other additional features.
By default, ChatGPT only has access to information from the training dataset with which it was developed. The chatbot can’t draw on other sources when generating responses. Using OpenAI’s newly debuted plugin feature, developers can supply ChatGPT with new data to which it otherwise wouldn’t have access.
For demonstration purposes, OpenAI has created a plugin that allows ChatGPT to retrieve information from the web. Information is retrieved using Bing. According to OpenAI, the plugin allows ChatGPT to answer questions it usually wouldn’t be capable of processing.
“Plugins offer the potential to tackle various challenges associated with large language models, including ‘hallucinations,’ keeping up with recent events, and accessing (with permission) proprietary information sources,” OpenAI stated.
The other purpose of ChatGPT plugins is to extend the chatbot’s capabilities beyond generating text. An online retailer, for example, could create a plugin that allows the chatbot to place orders on customers’ behalf.
The technology supports a range of other use cases as well. OpenAI has created a plugin that gives ChatGPT access to a Python interpreter, a tool capable of turning raw source code into a functioning program. The plugin allows customers to more easily put to use the Python code they generate with ChatGPT.
Nearly a dozen companies debuted ChatGPT plugins today in conjunction with the feature’s debut. Among them is Instacart Inc., which has created a tool that allows the chatbot to order food from grocery stores. Expedia Group Inc. is using ChatGPT to help users craft travel plans, while OpenTable Inc. will deliver AI-generated restaurant suggestions.
OpenAI is working to map out the potential risks associated with the new plugin feature. According to the startup, its engineers have carried out a number of tests to determine how plugins could potentially be misused. OpenAI is also inviting outside researchers to contribute feedback.
The launch of the plugin feature comes a few days after OpenAI debuted its newest machine learning model. GPT-4, as the model is called, is a more advanced version of the neural network on which ChatGPT is based. It’s described as being more adept at complicated tasks such as solving mathematical problems.