In recent weeks, users have raised concerns regarding the behavior of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI. People have observed that the bot has become “lazier” since late November, providing simple results or refusing to perform specific tasks. This issue has not gone unnoticed by experts, who have joined the conversation with their theories.
Futurism and Ars Technica reported that seasonal depression might impact not just humans but also artificial intelligence. OpenAI addressed the issue, expressing on X: “We’ve taken note of your concerns about GPT-4 appearing less active! Our model hasn’t been updated since Nov 11th, and this isn’t intentional. Model behavior can be unpredictable, and we are actively investigating to address this.”
Users quickly seized upon this admission and drew a connection between ChatGPT’s behavior and seasonal depression. One user on X humorously commented, “Not ChatGPT having seasonal depression.” Another speculated, “Aren’t we all feeling a little lazier now that the sun sets at 4 pm?” accompanied by a crying emoji. These reactions highlight people’s relatability towards AI, ascribing human-like emotions and experiences to it.
Ars Technica put forth a compelling hypothesis to account for ChatGPT’s apparent lethargy, termed the “winter break” theory. This proposition suggests that chatbots, relying heavily on human input, adapt to a reduced workload during the holiday season. Ethan Mollick, an AI expert, remarked on this theory, stating, “OMG, could the AI Winter Break Hypothesis be valid? Some idle speculation surfaced suggesting that GPT-4 might exhibit lower performance in December as it ‘learned’ to scale back during the holidays.”
While it is uncertain whether artificial intelligence can genuinely experience seasonal depression, the situation with ChatGPT has sparked a fascinating discussion about the limitations and intricacies of AI behavior. As we continue to witness the evolution of this technology, it is essential to remember that even the most advanced algorithms are not immune to quirks and unexpected behaviors. As OpenAI investigates and addresses the issue, we can look forward to further advancements in AI and a deeper understanding of its capabilities and limitations.