OpenAI Personalizes ChatGPT With New Custom Instructions Feature
OpenAI is rolling out a new ChatGPT feature called Custom Instructions that will personalize the generative AI chatbot. Custom Instructions enable users to teach ChatGPT some important elements of who they are and how they prefer ChatGPT to respond to requests.
Custom Instructions set a baseline for how ChatGPT responds to a user. It’s much like adding details to a prompt, except the user won’t have to repeat their preferences for how ChatGPT should respond each time. The feature offers two boxes for users to fill in. One asks for information about the user that might be important for the AI to consider, and the other asks the user to describe the ideal format for ChatGPT’s response. As an example, OpenAI shows how asking ChatGPT what to get at a grocery store for pizza night changes from when there’s no custom instruction to when details about a family’s size are added and the user wants ideas that make the size of the meal a central consideration. You can see the example instructions below and the responses underneath, with the custom instructions response on the right.
“We’ve heard your feedback about the friction of starting each ChatGPT conversation afresh. Through our conversations with users across 22 countries, we’ve deepened our understanding of the essential role steerability plays in enabling our models to effectively reflect the diverse contexts and unique needs of each person,” OpenAI explained in announcing the feature. “ChatGPT will consider your custom instructions for every conversation going forward. The model will consider the instructions every time it responds, so you won’t have to repeat your preferences or information in every conversation.”
The instructions apply beyond the standard ChatGPT to the plugins available for the chatbot. OpenAI suggested they could be used to set a standard location when using one of the plugins to make a restaurant reservation. The feature is still in beta, so OpenAI warned that imperfect interpretation of instructions shouldn’t be surprising, though the company did emphasize that it has adjusted its safety measures to account for the new capabilities, such as refusing instructions that might violate its policies and not saving those inputs. The information will go toward improving the model unless users opt out, however, and OpenAI plans to use that data to make ChatGPT better at incorporating custom instructions without overcorrecting for them. Custom Instructions is currently only available to ChatGPT Plus subscribers but will roll out to everyone soon.