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Surviving the ChatGPT Outage: Lessons and Laughs from AI Downtime

Want to know if you are getting too reliant on AI tools like ChatGPT? See how you perform when there's an AI outage!


If you haven't heard the news, OpenAI's ChatGPT experienced a major outage today during morning business hours here in the U.S.


I've seen my share of service interruptions in the past few months. In the middle of a compelling conversation, ChatGPT will throw up an error message.


Typically, if you wait a few minutes, maybe make a trip to the bathroom or grab a fresh cup of coffee, by the time you return to your computer, you're back in business.


Not today. What users experienced was considered a major outage.

Here's an excerpt from OpenAI's status page.

We experienced a major outage impacting all users on all plans of ChatGPT. The impact included all ChatGPT related services. The impact did not include platform.openai.com or the API. This incident started June 4th at 2:15p GMT (8:15a CT) and was resolved June 4th at 5:01p GMT (11:01a CT).

Also, I can't explain why the status page dashboard shows 5 hours and 29 minutes for the outage and the text summary shows less than 3 hours. Regardless, this was major. What's nice about the dashboard view is you can also check out uptime history, if you're curious.

OpenAI Status Dashboard: Major Outage 5 hrs 29 mins
OpenAI Status Dashboard

Another option, if you want proactive communication from OpenAI, you can subscribe to updates.


OpenAI: Subscribe to receive status updates
OpenAI: Subscribe to receive status updates

I must not be signed up for the status updates. I don't recall getting an email and I wasn't logged Into ChatGPT when the errors started occurring. I only found out because friends started pinging me.


What surprised me the most was that users were reporting intermittent issues with other generative AI tools too. Google Gemini, Anthropic’s Claude AI, and Perplexity AI were all experiencing hiccups. So, potential backup tools were temporarily off the table as well.


And where do I get my information when my favorite tech tools are acting strange? It's a little embarrassing to admit, but I turn to Twitter (X) for a feel of the situation. This habit started years ago when I would experience issues with Microsoft products like SharePoint or Outlook email. In my experience, Twitter users are quick to share issues, often before tech companies send their first alerts.


So today, I wanted to find out, was this just a case of refreshing your page after a few minutes and you'll be good to go? Nope. Not this time. This outage was legit. Not only did the string of tweets provide confirmation but also amusement. I saved a few of my favorites to share with you.













Outage Takeaways

So what did we learn from this? It's wise to:


  1. Have Backup AI Options: Think of it like having more than one streaming service. If Netflix is down, you've got Hulu.

  2. Keep Your Manual Skills Sharp: Sure, AI makes life easier, but remember you can still get the job done the old-fashioned way. It’s a great way to flex those manual skills and assess your dependency on AI.

  3. Be Ready to Pivot: Focus on tasks that don’t rely on AI.

  4. Take a Break: Sometimes, an AI outage is the universe telling you to take a break. Go for a walk, stretch, or just step away from the screen.

  5. Plan for Next Time: Layout your backup plan for the next OpenAI outage. It's bound to happen again.


Closing Thoughts

I'm curious. What did you notice today during the outage? Maybe you discovered how much you rely on these tools or found a new appreciation for doing things manually. For those who don't use generative AI daily, they might be having a good laugh at our expense!

I really want to hear your thoughts on this. How did the outage affect you? Do you have any funny stories or valuable lessons to share? Leave a comment below and let's get a conversation going.



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