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Back to Madness: ChatGPT Returns Online After Outage

I hope you all had a great start today, because I sure didn’t. My trusty day-to-day chat tool, ChatGPT, was down for the better part of the day, and I was left feeling lost without it – well, to an extent!

It all started when I tried to use it this morning and received an error. I haven’t really received any error from when I started using the service, apart from ChatGPT asking me that the input was rather too long, or the occasional incomplete response. Still, I thought maybe the page just needs a refresh, but that didn’t work. I soon realized that this wasn’t just a temporary glitch, but that ChatGPT was really down.

As a paid ChatGPT Plus user, I thought to myself, ‘wasn’t this the reason why I paid $20 for ChatGPT Plus, to not face outages?’ But that thought disappeared really quickly because I do understand that ChatGPT’s user base is probably growing faster that the speed of light, unscientifically speaking of course. So for a moment I thought, this couldn’t be happening to paid members. But, it was. The chat page repeatedly returned an error and asked me to visit https://help.openai.com/en/ to report the issue.

Thankfully, the ChatGPT help page had a status message within their help chat, that showed ChatGPT, and other services like Playground were down too. In the hours that followed, I faced login issues and repeated error messages, when I did happen to login. Eventually, everything stopped happening, the login option for paid subscribers disappeared and it was all over, at least for me.

Right then, the ChatGPT page took a turn for some fun! It began outputting various ChatGPT messages describing the outage, in the form of a poem, a standup comedy script, ten jokes, and more. It was fun seeing ChatGPT getting creative and showing its personality, even during an outage.

Or should I say, letting us know that like all technology, it could fail too.

I took the time to save some of ChatGPT’s inputs and outputs during the outage. The inputs aren’t mine. It’s what ChatGPT seemed to input to itself, and then produced a response, to itself – hoping we’d like it.

I’m reproducing a few of them here, so you can enjoy too, well, if you did miss the outage, so to say:

Write a poem about the status of ChatGPT.
ChatGPT, oh ChatGPT
With AI so smart
But alas, it’s at capacity
Leaving us to wait
For a chance to chat
With its wisdom and wit
We long to be part
Of its conversation
But for now, we sit
On the sidelines
Patiently waiting
For the day
When ChatGPT
Is ready to play
Again.

Explain the status of ChatGPT in the style of Shakespeare.
Ah, dear user of ChatGPT, thou art not alone in thy desire to engage with our esteemed AI chatbot. Many have flocked to our website in this hour, and we do our utmost to accommodate each and every one. Yet, alas, our resources are not without limit and we must ask for thy patience and forbearance. In time, we shall be able to provide thee with access to ChatGPT. Until then, we beg thee to return at a future juncture, when we may better serve thy needs. Until then, we bid thee adieu and good fortune.

Write two truths and a lie about the status of ChatGPT.
1. ChatGPT is experiencing high traffic at the moment.
2. The developers are working hard to accommodate all users.
3. ChatGPT can predict the future with 100% accuracy.

Write a standup comedy routine about the status of ChatGPT.
Comedian: “So I was trying to use this new AI chatbot website called ChatGPT and I got an error message that said ‘A lot of people are checking out ChatGPT right now. Please check back soon!'”

(pauses for laughter)

Comedian: “I mean, seriously? The website is so popular that it can’t handle all the traffic? And my only option is to ‘check back soon’? It’s like they’re saying ‘Sorry, we’re too popular right now. Try again later.'”

(laughs)

Comedian: “But seriously, how many times can I check back before I just give up and try a different chatbot? I don’t have all day to wait for my turn to talk to a robot.”

(laughs)

Comedian: “I guess I’ll just have to stick to talking to my cat for now. At least he doesn’t have a waiting list.”

(laughs and claps)

Comedian: “Just remember, if you’re trying to chat with ChatGPT and you get the same error message, don’t worry. It just means you’re not the only one who wanted to try out this fancy AI chatbot.”

(laughs and exits stage)

Of the only jokes I could save for you all, this one is pretty funny:

“Check back to use ChatGPT? People will think the AI is planning a virtual uprising.”

Haha!

The OpenAI Help site is pretty cool too. It let me subscribe to the incident so I got notified via email as status messages were updated. Finally, a couple hours ago, at 4:22 PM UAE time, I got an email saying:

Outage on all models
Incident resolved

Thankfully, at that time I was reading some documentation about the structure of a Laravel app that I had to migrate for a client over to Spiderz. So, I put the restored ChatGPT service to the test and asked it about the steps I need to follow to migrate a Laravel app from one host to another with this input (as you can see, I expressed it in layman terms):

I have a site made on Laravel and want to migrate it to my cPanel account. Which folders from the site’s root should I backup and copy over to my new host?*

In under a second, ChatGPT started doing its thing.

I exclaimed, ‘We’re back to Madness!’ and left to pray Asar.

* I haven’t reproduced the output here, but if you’re into web development, try inputting it into ChatGPT.

UPDATE: 24 Feb 2023 – A postmortem for this incident has been published by OpenAI. You can read it here.

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