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Why Microsoft temporarily blocked ChatGPT from employees on Thursday

Why Microsoft temporarily blocked ChatGPT from employees on Thursday

Microsoft logo on phone

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Microsoft, one of OpenAI’s largest investors, restricted ChatGPT access for its employees on Thursday, citing “security and data concerns.” According to CNBC, Microsoft employees were prohibited from accessing ChatGPT, a popular AI chatbot created by OpenAI, in which Microsoft has invested over $13 billion. 

CNBC reports that an internal website told employees, “Due to security and data concerns, several AI tools are no longer available for employees to use.” Microsoft employees were subsequently unable to access ChatGPT, which was listed as one of the tools banned for employee use. 

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Microsoft reinstated ChatGPT access and removed it from the list of prohibited tools after CNBC published its report, later saying, “We restored service shortly after we identified our error. As we said previously, we encourage employees and customers to use services like Bing Chat Enterprise and ChatGPT Enterprise that come with greater levels of privacy and security protections.”

The close relationship between the two companies makes the news that Microsoft banned its employees from using ChatGPT all the more shocking, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared the stage with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman during OpenAI’s first developers conference this week.

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Microsoft has partnered with OpenAI for almost a year, making substantial investments into the AI company’s technology and even incorporating it into its Bing Chat feature. Bing Chat is backed by GPT-4 and works as an AI chatbot that can access the internet, bringing online searches to a new level. 

GPT-4 is a more powerful model than the one powering the free version of ChatGPT and is only accessible with a ChatGPT Plus subscription from OpenAI or, alternatively, through Microsoft’s Bing Chat. 

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DALL-E 3, another new technology by OpenAI, is also largely incorporated into Microsoft’s AI tools, as users can access it to generate images using AI through Bing Chat or the Bing Image Creator. 

ChatGPT has taken over the AI world since it launched almost a year ago and currently has over 100 million users. Since people discovered its user-friendly interface and powerful capabilities in content creation, different reports have emerged of people using ChatGPT to write books and college papers, and its use has been largely scrutinized. 

Some companies, including Samsung, have restricted their employees from using the AI chatbot in company devices after employees were found to be giving ChatGPT confidential code to debug.

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