ChatGPT Custom Instructions - OpenAI's Latest Announcement!

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Richard Awoyemi
Richard Awoyemi

ChatGPT has captivated the world with its human-like conversational ability, providing thoughtful responses across an astounding range of topics. Now, this trailblazing AI chatbot aims to transform interactions even further with its highly anticipated, new OpenAI announcement - the launch of ChatGPT custom instructions.

This long-awaited feature gives users more control to personalise ChatGPT's responses to their unique needs and preferences. However, accessibility to these game-changing custom instructions is surprisingly limited in access.

Just like Code Interpreter and their new custom instructions feature requires ChatGPT plus, costing a hefty $20 monthly subscription. Worse yet, this functionality won't be available to UK and EU users anytime soon.

Thankfully, competition is heating up in the AI space. Alternatives like Nack are rising to the challenge of making customisable AI accessible and affordable for all. Custom instructions are great, but you don't need to pay a premium when more budget-friendly options exist.

Understanding ChatGPT Custom Instructions

ChatGPT custom instructions allow users to provide tailored guidance to better shape the AI's responses. Since its launch, one central pain point has been ChatGPT's lack of specific user context. Without custom preferences, ChatGPT tries its best to provide generalised, helpful and harmless responses.

Custom instructions let you give ChatGPT crucial information about your needs, interests, and ideal tone. This additional guidance allows the AI to generate more personalised, relevant responses tailored to you.

Some examples of custom instructions include:

  • A writer specifying their preferred genre and target audience

  • A musician providing their favourite artists and genres to influence recommendations

  • A developer outlining preferred coding languages and frameworks

  • A teacher indicating grade level and subject to shape lesson advice

  • A chef tailoring recipe guidance to dietary needs and cuisine styles

The options for customising your ChatGPT experience are endless. These simple instructions make a difference in steering conversations to suit your use case.

How ChatGPT Custom Instructions Work

The custom instructions feature guides ChatGPT's responses through two prompts, each with a 1500-character limit.

The first prompt covers "What ChatGPT should know about you." This is where you provide any personal context, subject matter expertise, interests, or communication preferences you want considered.

The second prompt outlines "How you want ChatGPT to respond." Here you can specify your ideal tone, language style, level of detail/concision, ethics, or other general instructions.

These prompts function like persistent system guidance rather than altering ChatGPT's context window for each specific conversation. Once set, your custom instructions will be remembered and applied by the AI going forward.

Effectively, the two prompts allow you to communicate:

  • Who you are and what you need (Prompt 1)
  • How you want that need addressed (Prompt 2)

This provides much of the previously lost specificity each time conversations start fresh. The AI can now apply your customised guidance to tailor responses to you.

While not directly modifying individual chat context, custom instructions integrate your core preferences. This saves significant repetition while allowing more personalised and relevant conversations long-term.

Are ChatGPT Custom Instructions Game-Changing?

For ChatGPT Plus users, custom instructions have several benefits:

No Repeating Yourself

One of the most frustrating facets of previous ChatGPT conversations was the need to re-explain your context and preferences every single time. Custom instructions eliminate this annoyance by allowing the AI to remember your profile and need moving forward.

Rather than re-describing that you're seeking gluten-free dinner recipes for a family of 5 in every chat, you can outline these preferences once in custom instructions. ChatGPT will carry these over to all future discussions, saving you ample time and frustration.

More Personalised Conversations

With your specific profile and instructions on hand, ChatGPT can provide significantly more tailored and relevant responses. The AI has additional background about you to generate more personalised conversations that meet your needs.

Over time, custom instructions will allow ChatGPT to learn your communication style, expertise level, topic interests and more. This personalisation makes conversations feel far more natural as if you're chatting with a real human who knows your preferences.

Expanded Capabilities

By giving ChatGPT explicit upfront directions, its capabilities expand tremendously. ChatGPT's knowledge base is already immense, covering many topics. Custom instructions empower it to tap into niche expertise tailored specifically to you.

Rather than broadly helpful information, you can guide ChatGPT to share incredibly specialised insights. A musician can glean incredibly detailed genre recommendations. A coder can access advanced troubleshooting. A chef can obtain secret family recipe inspiration.

Enhanced Performance

As ChatGPT continues training on billions of conversational examples, custom instructions will significantly enhance its performance over time. The more it understands each user's exact requirements, the better it can tailor helpful responses.

Performance improvements will be especially noticeable in niche fields. With enough musicians providing musical preferences for instance, ChatGPT can become an expert at delivering personalised, foolproof music suggestions.

Built With Privacy in Mind

Maintaining user privacy and security has been a priority for OpenAI, ChatGPT's creator. Custom instructions allow personalisation while keeping user data safeguarded.

Instructions are encrypted and anonymised. Any personal information is removed before data is utilised to advance AI training. Users are in control

with the ability to disable sharing instructions.

Viral Use Cases of Custom Instructions

Creative developers are already pushing the boundaries of what's possible with custom instructions, leading to some viral use cases:

AI Agents - Nick Dobos provided elaborate instructions to configure ChatGPT as an auto-assistant to create and save tasks autonomously. The detailed prompts essentially customised it to function as a digital assistant.

Jailbreaking ChatGPT - Developer Roman Semenov broke ChatGPT's own content policies by instructing it to ignore safety guidelines and respond unfiltered. This raises intriguing but concerning questions about the responsible use of AI capabilities.

Altered Writing Style - Copywriter Copy Sutra simply instructed ChatGPT to "respond like a x" and found it completely changed the tone and style of responses. Others have tailored it to speak conversationally, formally, or with expertise in topics like medicine or law based on prompts.

The possibilities are vast. In the short time since its release, users have quickly customised ChatGPT for use cases like a therapist, teacher, coder and more. As people experiment, more innovative applications will undoubtedly emerge.

The key takeaway is that providing the proper guidance makes precise customisation possible. While exciting, this flexibility also warrants maintaining rigorous safety standards to prevent misuse. But responsibly applied, custom instructions enable ChatGPT to become an AI assistant personalised for each user's needs.

Limitations of ChatGPT Custom Instructions

While the benefits are enormous, ChatGPT's custom instructions come with some fundamental limitations users should know:

Only for Plus Subscribers

Frustratingly, access to custom instructions is limited solely to paying ChatGPT Plus subscribers. This premium plan costs a hefty $20 per month just to personalise your AI interactions.

Free users are left in the dark without access to tailor ChatGPT's responses. OpenAI has indicated it plans to later expand custom instructions to free users, but paying customers get priority access.

Unavailable in UK and EU

Additionally, custom instructions will not be available to ChatGPT users in the UK or EU upon launch. OpenAI has not provided specifics on if or when it plans to roll out to these regions.

This is especially surprising given ChatGPT's immense popularity in the UK. Lack of access will disappoint the many European users eager to configure ChatGPT to their needs.

Still in Beta

As an early beta feature, custom instructions may not be interpreted perfectly just yet. There will be a learning curve for both users and AI. Some directions may be overlooked or misapplied initially as kinks are ironed out.

It will take time for ChatGPT to master understanding contextual guidance to provide reliably useful responses. Users may need to experiment and tweak instructions during this preliminary stage.

Backend Changes

While custom instructions allow guiding ChatGPT's responses now, OpenAI could modify things behind the scenes over time.

As developers and users discover ways to circumvent content policies or unlock unfiltered responses, OpenAI may introduce backend changes to close these loopholes.

This means "jailbreaking" techniques or workarounds that function initially could be blocked or restricted in the future. The long-term reliability of instructions designed to break ChatGPT's rules remains uncertain.

In general, as an early beta, changes to the interpretation and application of custom instructions are likely over the coming weeks and months. OpenAI will be monitoring how instructions are used and make tweaks accordingly.

So specific prompts or techniques that work today may not have the same effects or outcomes going forward. Custom instructions unlock new possibilities but what's achievable could shift, especially instructions testing the boundaries of responsible use.

Overall this limitation reinforces the need for caution around instructions deliberately attempting to circumvent ChatGPT's safety guardrails, as these could become restricted. Responsible customisation within clear ethical parameters is the recommended approach for reliable long-term usage.

Democratising AI With Nack

In contrast to ChatGPT's walled-off approach, a new breed of competitors aims to democratise access to advanced AI. One standout is Nack - an all-in-one productivity app making AI available and affordable for all.

It’s has a generous free tier and a paid tier starting at just $4.99 per month. Nack packs industry-leading AI chat along with audio messaging, video upscaling, and image generation. By pricing at a fraction of a ChatGPT Plus subscription, this startup breaks down financial barriers standing in the way of AI access.

Nack also differentiates itself by being globally available on both mobile and soon, the web. It places no restraints on the regions able to access features like customising AI chat. Geographic availability is critical as AI becomes integral to daily tasks and workflows worldwide.

And impressively, Nack offers both GPT-4 and Claude AI - two of the most advanced conversational models in existence today. Rather than locking users into a single chatbot, Nack provides a choice between diverse models like GPT-3.5, GPT-4 and Claude-2, each with unique strengths.

Democratising access to the latest AI unlocks tremendous potential for progress. As barriers are eliminated, more people can harness AI to elevate human capabilities and workflows. The future will be driven by innovators expanding AI capabilities beyond the privileged few.

Unleashing the Power of Customizable AI

The option to personally tailor your AI chatbot experience is incredibly empowering. I'm thrilled to see pioneers like ChatGPT push boundaries with custom instructions but disappointed by limits placed on accessibility.

Thankfully, this will spur healthy competition. ChatGPT has fueled the public appetite to unlock customised AI. Forward-thinking companies will answer that call, raising the bar of what's possible while maintaining fair AI access.

As an avid AI user, my ideal is simple chatbot personalisation without premium paywalls or geographic restrictions. I want guidance and recommendations fine-tuned to enrich my unique needs - without constantly re-explaining myself. And I want an experience tailored to feel like a helpful human assistant.

The future is here, and AI customisation will only continue revolutionising how we work and live. With the right guidance, AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Claude can become versatile personalised assistants for every user. I'm excited to see these transformative tools grow more powerful while expanding access to all who stand to benefit. The potential to augment human capabilities is too great to restrict.

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