If you have been using ChatGPT a lot, or simply during peak hours, you have probably noticed that ChatGPT sometimes struggles to finish answers, sends error messages, or asks you to come back later.
When this happens, you probably think, “Wait, ChatGPT is supposed to be the best AI Chatbots,” Right? Have you ever thought why does ChatGPT stop?
In this article, we will quench your curiosity and explain the reasons for some frustrations you may have had with chatGPT stopping in the middle of a response. We will look into why it happens and what you can do about it.
Answering: Why does ChatGPT stop?
There could be one of many reasons why ChatGPT stops in the middle of a response. Some reasons are more common than others, and some you may not have experienced. Either way, the reasons listed below will provide insight into some user experience frustrations you may have had with ChatGPT.
ChatGPT token limit
The most common cause of ChatGPT stopping mid-sentence is because it has reached its token limit. If you’re using ChatGPT 3.5, the limit is around 12,000 characters.
This token limit applies for the input and the output, meaning that if you type a prompt that is too long, then you will see an error message, and if you ask ChatGPT to generate an output longer than it can handle, it will also produce an error message or stop mid-sentence.
server being overloaded
Another criteria to remember is the server being overloaded. Maybe you didn’t reach the token limit, but ChatGPT isn’t able to continue because the servers are overloaded. This issue is way less common for ChatGPT Plus users, as they have priority server access. You can check the status of the servers at status.openai.com.
If GPT’s server is overloaded, it might not be able to save your previous or current conversations, so save your conversations offline for future uses as they may disappear after some time or during rush hour. You can save them locally or use aiarchives.org.
A less common reason that can cause ChatGPT to stop is that it is simply confused regarding the context or the prompt you just wrote. GPT will not stop to politely ask you to clarify unless you explicitly say that it can do that if needed (we will see how to do that later in this article).
It’s also possible that ChatGPT stopped replying because you asked for something unethical or illegal. In that case, it will simply stop typing, and you’ll need to refresh the page to make it work again.
If you type more than one message at a time, ChatGPT will also give you an error message.
bug or glitch
Another reason could be that ChatGPT simply encountered a bug or glitch. In that case, you’ll have to reload the page and try your prompt again.
Unstable internet connection
One last explanation for ChatGPT stopping is that your internet connection is unstable. Always make sure you use ChatGPT on a stable private internet connection.
What can you do about it?
To avoid the issue in the first place, you can follow these tips:
- Double checking your internet stability before chatting with ChatGPT
- Make sure you create new chats regularly to avoid losing your history and overloading ChatGPT.
- Double-check if your prompt is clear. With Prompt engineering, ensure to break down a prompt into understandable queries if it’s too complex. Remind ChatGPT of the context if needed.
- Double-check your spelling and grammar.
If you see an error message, the only solution will mostly be to wait or refresh the page and start a new chat.
Since May this year 2023, ChatGPT has been able to tell you it needs a break. It will inform you that the rest of the output will be generated in another message and needs your confirmation:
If ChatGPT stopped without a clear reason, look at your prompt and double-check if your chat session isn’t too long.
You can use follow-up prompts to ask ChatGPT to keep going by typing “go on”, “continue,” or “finish your answer”.
A Brief History of ChatGPT
To understand why Chat-GPT stops, we must dive into its history and architecture.
The journey begins with the original GPT model, which stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer.” This breakthrough demonstrated how a generative language model could capture world knowledge and use what it understood to produce content in written form.
Building upon the success of GPT-1, OpenAI introduced GPT-2, in February 2019. GPT-2 had the same architecture as GPT-1, except the output quality was much better.
In May 2020, OpenAI released GPT-3, the successor to GPT-2. Things suddenly changed. The scale of GPT-3 and the billions of parameters it had made it an incredible asset for the future. It was a turning point for Artificial Intelligence.
March 2023 saw the release of Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 (GPT-4), a model capable of accepting text and image inputs.
But how does ChatGPT work?
There are four main steps to understanding how GPT works and why it can sometimes stop working.
Learning from extensive text
ChatGPT’s learning process begins with exposure to extensive text sources such as books, articles, and websites. By doing so, it gains insights into the rules and patterns that make a language.
Understanding context in ChatGPT
When you input something for ChatGPT to respond to, it dissects your input into smaller units called tokens. By examining these tokens, it comprehends your message’s content and its underlying meaning.
Crafting a ChatGPT reply
Building upon its accumulated knowledge, ChatGPT writes a response. It anticipates the most probable words or phrases that should logically follow and combines them to produce a coherent and sensible answer.
Fine-tuning the response
To make its responses more engaging or controlled, ChatGPT might introduce an element of randomness into the response, depending on its programming instructions, or it can format the output in a specific style.
Seeding before prompting
If you’ve ever played Minecraft, you know what a seed is. For those who haven’t played Minecraft, we will explain what a seed does.
A seed is basically an ID number that tells your game how the world should be generated. It’s an awesome tool because it lets you choose where you spawn, and the seeds can be shared and universally understood by the game’s code. It’s also possible to use seeds in ChatGPT.
A seed in generative AI is a starting point used to make something. This is done to ensure that you’ll always get the same result if you use the same starting point. This is really useful for generating pictures where you want the results to be consistent and expected.
To keep things predictable, seeds are used. When a seed is given to the AI model, it sets the randomness to start from that seed. So, if you use the same seed again, you’ll get the same thing you got before.
In writing, it’s similar. When you use an AI tool to write sentences, you can give it a starting point (seed) like “My name is Max, and I love using ChatGPT,” and it will always write the same reply to this information. If you change the starting point, you’ll get different responses.
This is great news because it means that you could even train ChatGPT to give you the answer that goes with your seed. Let’s try it!
GPT has confirmed that it understood my request, so I continue with prompt number 2:
Let’s see if ChatGPT can do this:
I proceeded to distract ChatGPT with seed 2 and 3, and then asked again about the infamous seed 1:
You can use these seeds to your advantage to save time or to help ChatGPT continue where it left off. Imagine there is an output you really like and want to save, just tell ChatGPT that this output will now have a seed number, and you define it. You can now bring up this reply any time you type the corresponding seed number.
Our prompts to make sure ChatGPT keeps going:
Can you continue from where you left off?
“You stopped at (last sentence) can you continue?”
“Can you continue from (line number, item number)”
“Can you elaborate on (previous answer)”
“Can you explain what you meant with (previous answer)”
“This is not what I asked for, could you try again but with (additional information)”
“Can you rewrite this but make it xx words instead”
“Can you rewrite this but in (format)”
“Can you spell check your output based on (specific language/dialect)”
“Can you make it longer/shorter”
“Do it again but with (additional info)”
In your initial prompt, always add “feel free to ask questions if you need help to understand the context”.
That’s it for this article about why does ChatGPT stop and what you can do about it. Feel free to experiment with follow-up prompts and seeds to make the most out of ChatGPT.
In addition, I encourage you to continue to develop your skills with ChatGPT. ChatGPT and AI Chatbots are here to stay, so the smart thing to do is to adapt to the shift that is taking place before our eyes.
You can also check our other ChatGPT content on Automation Switch.
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