Microsoft sets new limits on Bing ChatGPT to prevent 'unhinged' behavior

Bing with ChatGPT on phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’ve been paying attention recently, you’ve seen that things have not gone so smoothly for ChatGPT. Or at least, not for the ChatGPT-powered chatbot in the new Bing search engine from Microsoft. Despite an initially promising launch, the chatbot — and its alter ego “Sydney” — have since made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Microsoft seems to have taken notice because it’s now implementing new limits to the AI chatbot in Bing. In a blog post on February 17, the Bing team at Microsoft admitted that long chat sessions can confuse Bing’s chatbot. It initially implemented limits on users of five chats per session and just 50 chats per day to prevent long chat sessions from occurring. It has since increased that limit to six chats per session and 60 chats per day, with plans to increase to 100 chats per day in the near future. 

bing with chatgpt on laptop screen

(Image credit: Future)

This is a significant limit on the chatbot’s capabilities that suggests Microsoft may be acknowledging recent criticisms from AI experts hold water. It may also be acknowledging that its stock price has dropped by more than 5% over the past week, significantly more than its competitors. 

It wouldn’t be the first time chatbots caused a significant stock hit, as Google Bard’s launch cost Google’s parent company Alphabet over $100 million in market cap. However, it is likely that the negative PR around Bing’s ChatGPT-like integration was simply too much for Microsoft not to implement changes to the AI chatbot. 

Bing ChatGPT: Changes are coming to Bing’s chatbot

A hard cap on how many interactions you can have with Bing’s chatbot AI is not all that’s changing with Bing’s ChatGPT clone. In the February 17 blog post, the Bing team not only stated that after 5 chats Bing’s chatbot will prompt you to start a new line of conversation, but that you will need to clear your conversation from the chatbot once you’re done. 

While this isn’t mandatory, Microsoft says that failing to clear the session could confuse the model. To clear the session, click on the broom icon to the left of the search box.

Then in its February 21 blog post, Bing’s team added further changes coming to Bing’s chatbot. It turns out that limiting the number of chats also limited the utility most users get from the chatbot, so — as previously mentioned — they increased the limit to six chats per session and 60 chats per day. But the Bing team also announced that a new feature is coming: Chat tones.

Bing with ChatGPT

(Image credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Chat tones are only just beginning to be tested, so you may not see them yet if you are using the new ChatGPT-powered Bing search engine. There will be three tones at first: Precise, Balanced and Creative. Precise will give users shorter, focused answers, whereas Creative will provide longer, more conversational answers. At this time we have been unable to go hands-on with these new Chat tones in our version of the Bing chatbot.

One update that seems to be missing is a digital health warning that some AI experts have been calling for. Maybe Microsoft thinks — or hopes — that these changes will be enough to prevent the “unhinged” behavior we have seen over the past week, or it simply doesn’t want to admit that this tech isn’t ready yet given that it has an early advantage over competitors. Either way, it will be interesting to see what other changes are in store for the new chatbot as more flaws are uncovered.  

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.