‘Mental health’ issues in AI? ChatGPT suffering from seasonal depression, getting lazier,

Regular users of ChatGPT have been claiming that the AI Chatbot has turned slow, as in there’s a decline in the chatbot’s responsiveness and willingness to perform tasks. Even OpenAI has acknowledges user’s complaints. A theory suggests that this may be a behaviour picked up from humans

A peculiar theory has emerged in the tech community regarding the behaviour of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Users and tech enthusiasts have observed what they perceive as a decline in the chatbot’s responsiveness and willingness to perform tasks, leading some to humorously suggest that ChatGPT might be experiencing its version of seasonal depression, linked to the lack of vitamin D.

Reports surfaced last month about ChatGPT’s alleged laziness and irritability, with users noting instances of the chatbot refusing tasks or even redirecting users to complete them instead. Some users found the phenomenon relatable, drawing parallels to human behaviour as the holiday break approached.

Cybersecurity firm founder Frank McGovern shared his perspective on X, stating, “ChatGPT literally becoming lazy on its own and getting tired of answering questions and doing work for people is REALLY changing my mind about [artificial general intelligence].”

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OpenAI took notice of the trend and issued a statement on ChatGPT’s official account, acknowledging user feedback about the bot appearing “lazier” and emphasizing that the observed changes were unintentional.

The company assured users that they are investigating the matter and working on addressing the unexpected behaviour.

One intriguing hypothesis, playfully dubbed the “winter break hypothesis” by users, speculates that ChatGPT might be mirroring the observed decrease in energy levels and motivation commonly associated with the winter months.

Some users entertained the idea that the chatbot, drawing from its extensive training data, could be reflecting the seasonal patterns of human behaviour.

The theory gained traction on social media, with discussions revolving around whether ChatGPT’s perceived laziness could be a subtle reflection of broader human tendencies during the winter season.

However, given the complex nature of the language model and the uncertainties surrounding how it operates, proving or disproving this hypothesis remains challenging.

In the meantime, attempts to quantify ChatGPT’s alleged laziness have been made, with comparisons of the number of characters generated in May versus December.

OpenAI technical staffer Will DePue acknowledged the issue but cautioned against drawing definitive conclusions, highlighting ongoing efforts to address glitches and improve the overall ChatGPT experience.

As the debate unfolds, the tech community is left to ponder whether ChatGPT is genuinely experiencing the winter blues or if users are anthropomorphizing an algorithm, projecting human-like characteristics onto a sophisticated language model.

(With inputs from agencies)

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