Is there a dark pattern on the ChatGPT’s Web Interface?

04 Aug 2023 - Frans Vanhaelewijck


When you navigate to the settings of the ChatGPT web interface, you will see a checkbox labelled ‘Chat history and training’. The instructions indicate that you can log new chats for your history, and that they may be used to improve their models.

I find it hard to understand why saving your history and using your data for training is consolidated into one option. In my view, you should be able to record your chat history while simultaneously opting out from allowing OpenAI to use your data for training, or vice versa: perhaps you don’t want to save your chat history, but you’re comfortable sharing your data with OpenAI. I question why this all boils down to a single checkbox.

To me, this is a dark pattern.

I frequently use the chat history because I sometimes build entire conversations with responses, new comments, and changes. And maybe, a few days later or even a week or two later, I want to revisit that chat history and add a different topic. Then, I can immediately pick up where I left off.

So, I really appreciate this chat history feature, but I may not be thrilled about my data being used by OpenAI. At this moment, I don’t particularly mind because I’m not sharing sensitive data and I can live with the fact that my data is being used for training. If it improves the system, then why not?

Utilizing the ChatGPT API does ensure the privacy of your data. You can use the API so that none of your data submitted via the API is used for training purposes. Additionally, with the SafeAssistant.Online system we are developing , you retain your chat history and even share it within your team, enabling collective work. Therefore, by adopting the ChatGPT API, you can enjoy the benefits of interacting with this powerful AI model, without concerns about data privacy and training usage.

But I can’t help but question why it’s all bundled into one simple checkbox on the web interface. Even on a paid subscription, you are tempted to share your data if you want the convenience of your chat history. I’m curious if other people share the same concern as I do.