So you’re a ChatGPT user. Now what?

Photo Illustration by Elene Scotti for the WSJ.
Photo Illustration by Elene Scotti for the WSJ.


OpenAI’s CEO turmoil might impact the company, but generative-AI tools are here to stay.

If the chaos at OpenAI has you wondering what’s next for ChatGPT, it’s OK. I’m right there with you.

It’s also OK if you aren’t sure who’s running the company—the office goldfish, your Uncle Don, ChatGPT itself.

That’s how crazy the past few days have been in the OpenAI Saga.

After a Friday ousting of Sam Altman, one of tech’s most-visible chief executives, OpenAI’s board named Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati the interim CEO. And then it named another interim CEO, former Twitch head Emmett Shear. By Monday, the majority of the company’s staff said they’d walk unless the board resigns and reinstates Altman. Microsoft, meanwhile, said it is hiring Altman. (Though that also could change!) This is moving quickly, so check for the latest.

Turns out, at a company dedicated to bringing AI to daily life without catastrophe, the humans were the problem.

Sure, ChatGPT will still generate your stuffing recipe for Thursday, but virtually every aspect of the product’s future seems uncertain. Pretty nutty for one of the fastest-growing apps of all time. Earlier this month, Altman announced ChatGPT had over 100 million weekly active users.

OpenAI is assuring users and developers that all systems are a go. Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap said Monday on X that OpenAI’s products and platforms “are operational and secure," and that the engineering and support teams “continue working around the clock to support you." Lightcap was among the hundreds of employees who signed the letter asking the board to resign.

Still, it’s a wobbly moment for the company that was leading the AI revolution. Here’s what you, the AI user, should know—for now.

Generative AI is here to stay

There’s no putting the generative-AI genie back in the bottle. That’s the conclusion of the many tech leaders and power users I’ve talked with since Friday.

ChatGPT, released a year ago, sparked an AI frenzy. Microsoft released its Bing chatbot (based on OpenAI’s GPT technology), and Google rushed out its homegrown Bard. Anthropic, a startup founded by ex-OpenAI employees, released a chatbot named Claude. Meta has been rolling out its own chatbot in Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook.

If ChatGPT were to vanish tomorrow, you’d have your pick of alternative generative-AI bots to write your cover letter, summarize your kids’ school emails and design your next marketing deck.

“As important as this technology is, it’s not good for one company to just run away with it and become the de facto AI company in the world," said Mark Hinkle, a ChatGPT power user and CEO of Peripety Labs, an agency that works with companies to integrate AI tools.

App developers will keep building

Over the past year, OpenAI’s GPT large language model, or LLM, technology has been baked into many popular apps. Instacart uses it to help you generate a shopping list. Snapchat has a My AI bot to answer questions. Duolingo’s Roleplay is a built-in language-learning buddy. Expedia will plan your next trip to Naples (Florida and Italy).

A Duolingo spokesperson said its AI features are “largely agnostic to which base LLM they use," meaning its app isn’t dependent on OpenAI’s technology. It can shift to other options if needed. Expedia, Snap and Instacart declined to comment on their future plans with OpenAI.

“The folks like me who actually are into the actual tech, building real things with the tech, this isn’t going to stop or slow down what we’re doing," said Reuven Cohen, an early OpenAI developer and consultant who helps companies figure out how to incorporate AI.

Cohen, Hinkle and other developers I spoke with said they’re watching the news closely.

“I am not clear on whether OpenAI will be the future for my business or not," Hinkle said.

Microsoft might save it all

And then there’s Mighty Microsoft to save the day! (Please sing to the tune of the “Mighty Mouse" theme song.) On Sunday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Altman would be joining the software giant. As of this writing, they left open the possibility that Altman could still return to OpenAI.

For those just catching up on this bromance, Microsoft has integrated OpenAI’s technology across its products, including in Bing and Microsoft Office. The company remains OpenAI’s largest investor with a 49% stake in exchange for $13 billion.

If you’ve been using Microsoft’s latest AI tools—including the Bing chatbot or the Copilot image- and text-generator integrated into Microsoft 365—you’ve been using OpenAI’s GPT technology. Whether Altman and Co. end up breaking off and starting something new at Microsoft, or if they figure it out at OpenAI, GPT technology is going to be a part of Microsoft’s offerings.

Maybe you won’t use ChatGPT in the future, but you’ll use Microsoft-GPT or Bing-Copilot-Clippy or whatever Microsoft wants to call it.

No one really knows what OpenAI’s future looks like. But the AI innovations it unlocked for the world are here to stay.

Write to Joanna Stern at

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