OpenAI's new image and voice updates will be available to ChatGPT Plus users first. Here's what you get if you pay a monthly fee for ChatGPT.

  • ChatGPT Plus subscribers will be first in line to try out OpenAI's new image and voice features.

  • The subscription model was launched in February and costs $20 per month.

  • Here's the difference between ChatGPT Plus and the free version.

OpenAI is launching some major updates to ChatGPT — and they'll only be available to those who pay a monthly fee.

The company announced in late September that paying users of ChatGPT will be able to start interacting with the popular chatbot by voice so they can "engage in a back-and-forth conversation." The company said it planned to roll out the feature over a two-week period.

The chatbot is also getting a new feature that allows it to "see." The update will allow users to show the chatbot images and ask questions about them.

OpenAI first announced plans to monetize its viral AI chatbot, ChatGPT, in February after around two months of unlimited free use. Users can still access the chatbot for free but those who pay a monthly subscription for "ChatGPT Plus" have been able to try out the updated version of ChatGPT powered by GPT-4.

Some form of a subscription model for ChatGPT has been in the works for a while. OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, floated the prospect in December, calling the operating costs "eye-watering" in a Twitter post.

ChatGPT Plus costs $20 per month — here's how the paid version differs from the free one.

New features

Users signed up for the subscription model will have access to the much-anticipated GPT-4. ChatGPT Plus had previously promised subscribers priority access to new features and improvements.

Among other updates, GPT-4 is able to process and understand image prompts and can engage in longer conversations. OpenAI has said the update is more reliable and more creative than its popular predecessor, GPT-3.5.

CEO Sam Altman said the updated chatbot was capable of passing the bar exam and "could score a 5 on several AP exams."

Access during peak times

ChatGPT's huge popularity has meant some users struggle to access the chatbot when the site is particularly overloaded. Frequent users will be familiar with the "ChatGPT is at capacity now" holding page.

However, paying users will get "general access to ChatGPT, even at peak times," OpenAI said in a blogpost.

Faster responses

ChatGPT usually generates its responses in a matter of minutes or even seconds for simple queries. ChatGPT Plus promises an even faster response time. Sometimes the chatbot can lag with lengthy requests and users are left waiting.

It's still unclear how powerful the paid version will be but the company is offering up the potential of speedier responses for users with time-sensitive tasks.

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