As the alert on ChatGPT's interface explains, "We've restored conversation history for all ChatGPT users and resolved the underlying issue, which was caused by a significant bug in an open-source library."
That bug was big enough that it may have triggered two issues. Yesterday OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Tweeted:
"we had a significant issue in ChatGPT due to a bug in an open source library, for which a fix has now been released and we have just finished validating."
Altman added that "a small percentage of users were able to see the titles of other users’ conversation history."
Seeing other users' chat conversation titles might've been confusing for ChatGPT users who didn't remember the conversations and, because they could only see the titles and not the full context of the AI conversations, wouldn't know what they were really about.
Altman said in his tweet, "we feel awful about this."
we had a significant issue in ChatGPT due to a bug in an open source library, for which a fix has now been released and we have just finished validating.a small percentage of users were able to see the titles of other users’ conversation history.we feel awful about this.March 22, 2023
It appears that the effort to repair that bug may have required the temporary removal of ChatGPT conversation history. That seems reasonable. Unfortunately, the effort to restore those ChatGPT conversation histories was not completely successful.
The service alert explains:
"In order to ensure that this issue does not reoccur, users will not be able to retrieve their chat history from the morning of March 20th. We apologize to our users for any difficulties this may cause."
There were no further details about the root cause of the bug, though Altman promised "a technical postmortem."
The loss of what is probably a small piece of your weeks of conversations with ChatGPT is probably not a great concern unless that was the moment when ChatGPT perfectly explained to you the meaning of life.
People forget that ChatGPT is a constantly-developing and still somewhat experimental AI platform that is interfacing with a lot of non-technical humans. They probably assume that ChatGPT should be as stable as, say, Microsoft Word, which is unlikely to lose all the files you created on the morning of March 20th.
The good news is that ChatGPT seems to be back to normal and stable. Better yet, Altman announced on Thursday the launch of support for ChatGPT plugins, which could help ChatGPT work with more third-party tools and extend its capability and overall utility. Don't expect new tools right away, though. OpenAI has launched a waitlist for access to plugin support.
As for your lost conversations, you might want to start those chats again. You may find ChatGPT has even more interesting answers. You could also start trying out some of the other developing conversational AI platforms like ChatGPT-enabled Bing, and the new Google Bard.
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.