Microsoft, one of the largest investors in OpenAI, restricted its employees’ access to ChatGPT on Thursday, citing “security and data concerns.” According to CNBC, Microsoft employees were denied access to ChatGPT, a popular AI chatbot created by OpenAI, in which Microsoft has invested more than $13 billion.
CNBC reports that an internal website told employees, “Due to security and data concerns, many AI tools are no longer available for employees to use.” Microsoft employees were then unable to access ChatGPT, which was listed as one of the tools prohibited for employee use.
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Microsoft restored access to ChatGPT and removed it from its list of banned tools after CNBC published its report, later saying: “We restored service shortly after identifying our error. As we’ve said previously, we encourage employees and customers to use services like Bing Chat Enterprise and ChatGPT Enterprise that come with tiers of Higher privacy and security protection.”
The close relationship between the two companies makes the news that Microsoft has banned its employees from using ChatGPT even more shocking, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared the stage with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman during the first OpenAI Developer Conference this week.
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Microsoft has been partnering with OpenAI for about a year, making significant investments in the company’s AI technology and even integrating it into its Bing Chat feature. Bing Chat is powered by GPT-4 and acts as an AI chatbot that can access the Internet, taking online searches to a new level.
GPT-4 is a more powerful model than the one running the free version of ChatGPT and can only be accessed through OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus subscription or, alternatively, through Microsoft’s Bing Chat.
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DALL-E 3, another new technology from OpenAI, is also largely integrated into Microsoft’s AI tools, where users can access it to create images using AI through Bing Chat or Bing Image Creator.
ChatGPT has taken the AI world by storm since its launch almost a year ago and currently has over 100 million users. Since people discovered its easy-to-use interface and powerful content creation capabilities, various reports of people using ChatGPT to write books and university papers have emerged, and its use has been largely scrutinized.
Some companies, including Samsung, have restricted their employees from using an AI-powered chatbot in company devices after employees were found to be giving away ChatGPT secret code to debug errors.