Talk of ChatGPT taking over the world has kind of cooled in recent months, but the artificial intelligence chatbot is still doing rather well for itself, and has just passed a significant milestone, according to Finbold.
With 1.51 billion monthly visits to Chat.openai.com between June 2023 and August 2023, it has overtaken Netflix.com, which averaged 1.49 billion.
Those are some impressive numbers, but it’s important to put them into context in two ways. Firstly, they’re not just a long way behind internet giants like Google.com (85.41 billion), YouTube.com (33.56 billion) and Facebook.com (17.2 billion), but also, uh, ‘lesser entities’ like Yahoo.com (3.65 billion).
Secondly, these figures only measure web traffic, and that’s especially rough on Netflix. I would venture that most people use Netflix apps in game consoles, smart TVs, phones and tablets, and relatively few open up a web browser like it’s the late 1990s.
All the same, 1.51 billion visits clearly isn’t a figure to be sneezed at, and shows plenty of potential for generative AI as a way for people to find answers online. Many people are finding Google increasingly unfit for purpose, and if you’ve ever found yourself affixing the word “reddit” to a search query to find something authentic, you’ll likely sympathise. ChatGPT, or something like it, could give Google some long-needed serious competition.
But there are problems to overcome. Not just the fact that generative AI frequently makes stuff up, but the huge environmental cost involved. Plus a generative search AI could be a victim of its own success: if people stop clicking through to websites, they’ll die off, leaving generative AI nothing current to learn from.
And obviously, some are also worried that we could overshoot ‘useful’ by some distance, and actually cause the extinction of humanity. Oopsy daisy.
Get past all of those things (especially that last one, please), and generative AI can be truly game-changing. And the huge number of users returning to ChatGPT on a monthly basis suggests that some people are already fully invested in that future.