OpenAI's New Reddit Deal Means Real-Time Data for You ChatGPT Users

Meanwhile, Reddit says it will bring "AI-powered features" to redditors.

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AI startup OpenAI has a new data source: social media platform Reddit.

In a partnership announced Thursday, Reddit said it's opening its doors to OpenAI so tools like ChatGPT and unspecified "new products" can better understand Reddit content, as well as to as help new and existing redditors engage with its 100,000-plus communities, or subreddits, the platform wrote in a blog post.

It's good news for ChatGPT users who want more timely content and an awareness of current events. Right now, the company's ChatGPT 4 offering (which costs $20 a month) knows things only up to August 2023, while the free ChatGPT 3.5 goes up to only September 2021. 

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And it's good for those of us who want to understand the sources that chatbots draw from. To date, what exactly chatbots have been trained on — that is, how  they learn about words and how we use them — has been a bit contentious and not always clear.

OpenAI says its large language models have been trained on information that's publicly available on the internet, as well as information it licenses from third parties and information from its users and trainers. Not everyone's been happy about that. Both OpenAI and Microsoft, which backs OpenAI financially and which has its own AI chatbot, were sued in April by eight newspapers — including The New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune and The Orlando Sentinel — for allegedly using their news content to train chatbots without permission.

It's not always easy to tell what's behind the curtain. A subreddit from August questioned whether ChatGPT was trained on Reddit data.

Now it's official.

OpenAI will access Reddit's Data API, which provides real-time content from the social platform. This will benefit OpenAI when it comes to more recent topics, the post said. 

"We are thrilled to partner with Reddit to enhance ChatGPT with unique, timely and relevant information," OpenAI Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap said in a statement.

In turn, Reddit said it will bring "AI-powered features" to redditors and build on OpenAI's platform to "bring its powerful vision to life" and "improve the user experience," but neither Reddit nor OpenAI specified what that means.

In its blog post, Reddit said it wants to foster an open Internet, which means making the platform accessible to players like OpenAI, which are "fostering human learning and researching ways to build community, belonging and empowerment online."

Earlier this week, OpenAI announced its latest flagship model, GPT-4o, which among other things is designed to make ChatGPT more conversational. Google, meanwhile, at its I/O developer conference, showed off a wide array of its own AI chatbot advances.

As a result of the partnership, OpenAI will also become a Reddit advertiser.

A nearly identical blog post from OpenAI noted that CEO Sam Altman is a Reddit shareholder and that the deal was led by Lightcap and approved by OpenAI's board of directors.

Editors' note: CNET used an AI engine to help create several dozen stories, which are labeled accordingly. The note you're reading is attached to articles that deal substantively with the topic of AI but are created entirely by our expert editors and writers. For more, see our AI policy.

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