Luan provides the service to strangers for a small fee and to friends for free.
The artificial intelligence (AI) app talks to users as if they were a human being with the ability to apply encyclopedic knowledge in a variety of ways.
More than one million people worldwide signed up for the app in the first week of its launch in early December last year.
The AI-based chatbot became very popular in Vietnam shortly after.
Luan said he received about 300 requests to create accounts with the chatbot in December.
By mid-January, ChatGPT had taken the world by storm and the number of global users had skyrocketed.
ChatGPT registered 10 million subscribers worldwide 40 days after its launch.
According to Google Trends statistics, in the past three days, “ChatGPT” and “OpenAI” (the American company that created ChatGPT) are two of the most searched keywords in Vietnam.
Luan said the number of account requests he received last month increased fivefold compared to a month earlier.
“There are hundreds of requests a day,” he said, although many other people and groups provide the same service.
“It’s a good sign when AI is getting closer to life,” he said.
ChatGPT was developed and “trained” by OpenAI to answer questions as if users were in a conversation with a real person.
Although ChatGPT works for free, users need an account on the OpenAI platform.
However, OpenAI has not officially made ChatGPT accounts available in Vietnam.
So domestic users who want to experience the AI app must use a virtual private network (VPN), purchase a foreign phone number and use an international payment card to sign up, or purchase an account from someone else.
This is where Luan steps in: helping people through the complicated process of secretly creating accounts in Vietnam.
Additionally, some members of online tech groups share lists of OpenAI accounts that anyone can use.
Renting or buying ChatGPT accounts has also become extremely popular in Vietnam.
People are now regularly buying accounts at prices ranging around 20,000-150,000 VND ($0.8-6.4).
Minh Phong, an office worker in Ho Chi Minh City, said he had become “addicted” to the AI app since he bought an account.
“Most of the time I use ChatGPT as a friend to chat and consult about anything in the world,” he said. “When I get a funny or insightful answer, I take a picture to show it off.”
Some people ask ChatGPT to write stories or poems or write homework. And in many cases it does the job well.
Fong said the number of ChatGPT users is so high that the system is often overwhelmed and responses are delayed or canceled due to network errors.
Experts attribute ChatGPT’s success to the fact that it is the first time a powerful AI tool has been fully released to the community, rather than only through limited testing phases.
“ChatGPT has attracted a lot of interest because it is the first time there has been a widely introduced application of AI that is very close to human intelligence,” said Dang Minh Tuan, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Institute of Science and Technology.
According to Tuan, the most appealing quality of ChatGPT is not its ability to answer a variety of knowledge-based questions, but the ability to create content on demand, such as film scripts and computer programming.
But new AI tools like ChatGPT are two-sided coins, he said.
On the plus side, users can use AI to gain knowledge.
AI can help you save time by answering questions quickly, straight to the point, instead of other tools like Google that give a list of links that users then have to pull up on their own.
On the other hand, AI often gives incorrect answers to questions and problems, which can make it a very dangerous tool.
“ChatGPT is just a language model, so it can answer questions correctly or incorrectly. There are no sources to prove the results given,” Tuan said.
Additionally, during a conversation, ChatGPT does not understand the context or feelings of users, so it may react inappropriately and adversely affect the user experience.
According to Tuan, the power of an AI app like ChatGPT is immense, so users should use it appropriately, responsibly and purposefully.
They should consider ChatGPT only as a reference resource for the purpose of learning or finding information and not as an absolute source of information. They should not use it to make decisions and take actions that affect others, he said.
“At the same time, it is necessary to be careful with information that is contradictory or harmful to individuals or organizations.