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ChatGPT Traffic Rebounds With Start of School Year

Some new data about the usage patterns of generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots may have teachers taking a closer look at students’ homework.

ChatGPT, the AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, is experiencing a surge in traffic at the same time students are returning to school, according to recent estimates from third-party firms, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (Sept. 20). This is raising concerns about the widespread use of the chatbot among students.

Data intelligence firm SimilarWeb reported that web traffic to ChatGPT rose by about 12% last week compared to the previous week, according to the report. This increase is believed to be directly influenced by the return of students to school in the U.S.

YipitData, another data analysis firm, noted that daily ChatGPT usage hit a low point in August but showed improvement in the second half of the month, the report said. However, traffic remains lower than ChatGPT’s peak in the spring. The rise in traffic coincides with the start of the school year in the U.S.

Sensor Tower, an analytics firm, reported that weekly worldwide ChatGPT app users grew by more than 10% in the last two weeks of August, coinciding with a portion of the U.S. returning to school, per the report.

ChatGPT offers various functionalities, such as generating code, summarizing notes, and assisting with writing term papers and assignments, all within seconds, according to the report.

YipitData’s report suggests that the return to school is one contributing factor to the traffic rebound, but not the sole driver, the report said. While traffic from students to ChatGPT grew by 21%, that from users outside of that group grew by 8%.

Sensor Tower said the increase in usage is also attributed, in part, to growth in the Indian and Brazilian markets, per the report.

The rise of ChatGPT has prompted schools to grapple with its implications, according to the report. Some institutions have chosen to ban the technology outright, while others are exploring ways to incorporate it into their curriculums to aid student learning. Guidelines are being developed, but many schools are allowing teachers to decide how AI tools like ChatGPT should be used in the classroom.

Some schools are rethinking their stances after having been concerned by ChatGPT’s rapid rise in popularity. Allowing students to use the generative AI technology may help them learn about both its beneficial use cases and its risks.