News & Analysis

ChatGPT Outage: Blame it on DDoS

When ChatGPT, the AI-powered chatbot began experiencing sporadic outages 24 hours ago, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman blamed it on burgeoning user interest around its new features. However, now it appears that a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is the real cause. And all this happened a day after Samsung launched its own Gen AI alternative Gauss. 

No, we aren’t suggesting that the two events are linked. It’s just the irony of it all that made us join the dots around a world where suddenly Gen AI appears to have become the next best invention after sliced bread. Every Big Tech name is chasing the next Gen AI model and some are simply chasing startups who seem to have figured it out. 

While OpenAI got a $10bn fillip when Microsoft pumped in funds for GenAI, arch rival Alphabet came out with Google Bard as an early competitor that also had the benefit of real time data from search indexing. Close on the heels came Amazon that announced its intention of going after AI based chatbots to assist its retail business. Of course, all this while, the debate around Gen AI taking away jobs kept growing louder. 

Is someone fiddling with the whole Gen AI story?

Coming back to the outages affecting ChatGPT and its developer tools, users attempting to access it are getting this message: “ChatGPT is at capacity right now” while some of us haven’t been able to log into the service and there are no messages either. In an update on its incident report page, OpenAI says the outages are caused by abnormal traffic patterns reflective of a DDoS attack – which is an attempt to overwhelm an online service by flooding it with requests. 

Of course, the latest update seems to show up Altman’s enthusiasm as he squarely blamed the outages around the interest it’s new features had generated following their unveiling on Monday, barely 24 hours before the outages began. Though OpenAI claimed the issue was fixed at 1300 hours PST on November 8, they continued.  

There is no further information about the attack, though media reports claim that a bad actor group going under the name Anonymous Sudan had claimed it as their handiwork. What’s worth noting is that OpenAI competitor Anthropic too has reported issues with its GenAI chatbot Claude, which was also blamed on capacity constraints. 

Samsung launches ChatGPT rival after first banning it

While all of this was playing out, Samsung came out with its own Gen AI model at its annual event – Samsung AI Forum 2023. Called Samsung Gauss, it consists of three tools: Gauss Language, Gauss Code and Gauss Image – all functioning on the same large language model (LLM) that forms the basis of ChatGPT, Claude and Google’s Bard. 

The company notes that the new set of tools can be used to enhance productivity by helping write and edit emails, summarize documents and translate languages. Of course, what’s not currently known is what languages it supports besides English. The code assistant can help the developer community by supporting code descriptions, test case generations etc. For now, the image tool will generate pictures, help heighten resolution and support edits. 

For now, the new launch is only meant for internal use by Samsung staff. The company said it would be made available to the public soon but did not provide any timelines. All that came out from the event held on November 8 is that their next flagship smartphone Galaxy S24 could be based on a Gen AI model and arrive in 2024. 

Daehyun Kim, EVP at Samsung Research Global AI Center also revealed a new AI Red Team that would monitor security and privacy issues from data collection to AI development. “We will continue to support and collaborate with the industry and academia on generative AI research,” he said. 

As some of you would’ve already figured out, the new set of AI tools from Samsung are named after mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss whose theory of normal distribution is considered to be the backbone of artificial intelligence as well as machine learning. What’s worth noting is also that Samsung’s Gen AI launch comes seven months after the company had banned use of Gen AI tools on the company-owned devices. 

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