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ChatGPT will now remember its conversations with you

Notably, data from ChatGPT Team and Enterprise customers will not be used for training purposes.

On February 13, OpenAI announced that it is testing memory with ChatGPT. Users would now be able to tell the AI model what they want it to remember and what they want it to forget. The memory function will be on by default and users can choose to turn it off. The company says that it can use the data from these memories to improve its models. Notably, data from ChatGPT Team and Enterprise customers will not be used for training purposes. The memory function is being rolled out this week to a small group of ChatGPT free and Plus users to test how it works.

The company has also announced a feature called temporary chats. These chats wouldn’t appear in history, wouldn’t use memory, and wouldn’t be used for training data either.

Would the memory feature lead to potential privacy concerns?

Previously, concerns have been raised about the privacy implications of how ChatGPT collects and processes user data. In April 2023, Italy’s privacy regulator  imposed an “immediate temporary limitation” on ChatGPT parent OpenAI’s processing of Italians’ user data stating that there was “no legal basis underpinning the massive collection and processing of personal data to ‘train’ the algorithms on which the platform [ChatGPT] relies.” The Italian privacy regulator reiterated similar concerns in January this year, stating that ChatGPT breaches the European Union’s data protection rules, according to a Reuters report.

The new memory feature could allow the AI model to remember even more information about its users. The company claims that it is steering ChatGPT away from proactively remembering sensitive information about the users unless explicitly asked to do so. But in instances that a user does ask ChatGPT to remember such information, this could potentially end up a part of the AI model’s training data.

OpenAI says that memories are separate from chat logs, this means that users would have to specifically ask ChatGPT to forget memories or they can delete all memories at once by clearing ChatGPT’s memory. However, it also states that “if a memory was previously de-identified and disassociated from your [the user’s] account, we may still use that memory for training to improve model performance.” This could mean that memory could still be used for training purposes post-deletion if it loses all association with a specific user.

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