OpenAI – which kickstarted the current AI wave with the now-hosuehold ChatGPT, has now announced a change in user access to ChatGPT. So far, users were required to create an account to utilize both the free tier of ChatGPT, powered by the GPT-3.5 language model, and the paid versions. Now, in a move that seems to be aimed at expanding accessibility and familiarizing users with AI capabilities, OpenAI is allowing users to interact with ChatGPT without the necessity of an account.

This update removes the initial hurdle of account creation, potentially attracting a wider audience who might have been hesitant to invest time in signing up. With this development, users will be able to explore the functionalities of ChatGPT directly, initiating conversations and experiencing the power of AI-powered language interaction firsthand. This feature, OpenAI notes, will be gradually rolled out to users.

“It’s core to our mission to make tools like ChatGPT broadly available so that people can experience the benefits of AI. More than 100 million people across 185 countries use ChatGPT weekly to learn something new, find creative inspiration, and get answers to their questions. Starting today, you can use ChatGPT instantly, without needing to sign-up. We’re rolling this out gradually, with the aim to make AI accessible to anyone curious about its capabilities,” the firm noted in an official blog post.

Speaking of ChatGPT, it has evolved into a household name – from a tech demo into a comprehensive AI assistant – ever since it was launched in November 2022. For a long time, access to ChatGPT required creating an account, even for the free tier, and eventually OpenAI began to offer access to more advanced models like GPT-4, which boast greater accuracy and capabilities. Since its launch, ChatGPT has garnered immense popularity, becoming one of the fastest-growing AI services with over 100 million weekly users across 185 countries, and currently offers 3 tiers – the free, basic tier, the ChatGPT Plus version (coming at $20/month) and ChatGPT Team (which costs $25 per person/month).

Despite this, there are still several limitations that accompanies this development. For example, features like saving chat history, sharing conversations, and using custom instructions are reserved for users with accounts. So, in order to get the full OpenAI experience, it might be in your best interest to sign in and create an account.

It is, however, important for users to be aware that conversations conducted through the free tier will still contribute to OpenAI’s data collection for model training. This data is used to refine and improve future AI models. However, users have the option to opt out of this data contribution within the settings menu. And if this is not enough, the firm also brings forth the implementation of “additional content safeguards” for the accountless experience. The exact nature of these safeguards remains undisclosed, although the company assures that they address “inappropriate content” within the free tier. While the specifics of these safeguards are unclear, OpenAI highlights existing safety measures already in place, such as the model’s refusal to generate harmful content.