Take a trip down macOS memory lane with these web-based retro versions of Apple’s operating system – and yes, they can run Doom

If you were a Mac user in the 80s and 90s, you got the opportunity to use the classic versions of the macOS we know and love today. Now, I’ve got good news for anyone who’s feeling nostalgic: you don’t have to go digging through eBay or your attic to search for an old Mac to use a retro iteration of macOS. 

A website called Infinite Mac, designed by Mihai Parparita, allows you to use every classic Mac operating system from 1985 to 2001. Once you head over to the Infinite Mac website you can scroll through your options, find the one you want to try out, and click Run. Then, like Marty McFly, you’ll be magically transported back through time to the macOS of your choice!

An old version of macOS running in a modern browser.

Vintage macOS is exactly as sluggish as you remember it being. (Image credit: Apple / Mihai Parparita)

Blast from the past

You won’t have to install anything as it’s all contained within your browser, and you’ll be guided around the macOS setup and use it as you would a regular computer! You can create new files, explore the setup, and even play a few old-school games – including the full versions of Doom II, Quake, and Myst, although they're unsurprisingly a little bit janky to play in an emulated in-browser OS.

You can also access a saved hard drive that will back up any files you create on your computer locally, and drag any files from your desktop into the web browser, creating a file called “Outside World”. You’ll be able to try out a collection of CDs, old games, and even some software that came bundled on floppy disks with magazines at the time.

As a modern-day Apple user born in the year 2000, I think it’s pretty cool that I can take an educational trip down memory lane and see what older versions of the current system look like. It really makes you appreciate not just how far we’ve come in the world of computing – but also showcases how far we’ve yet to go! I can’t wait to see what macOS looks like in 10 years, or 20 – probably loaded up with AI, if recent news is anything to go by.

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ChatGPT Plus just got a major update that might make it feel more human – here’s how the new memory feature works

Artificial intelligence might seem a little less artificial today now that Memory is live for all ChatGPT Plus users.

After a few months of testing in both the free and pay versions of the generative AI chatbot, OpenAI chose to enable the feature, for paying customers only, in all regions except Korea and Europe.

ChatGPT's memory is exactly what it sounds like. During prompt-driven “conversations” with the AI, ChatGPT Plus can now remember key facts about the conversations, including details about you, and then apply that information to future interactions. Put another way, ChatGPT Plus just graduated from a somewhat disinterested acquaintance to a friend who cares enough to remember that your birthday is next week or that you recently bought a dog.

You can tell the system to implicitly remember something or just state facts about yourself that it will remember.

ChatGPT Plus Memory

Cross-chat memory introduction (Image credit: Future)

I know, it's the kind of thing that could make AIs like ChatGPT far more useful or completely terrifying. Up until now, we've mostly dealt with generative AIs that had intense short-term memory loss. Systems like ChatGPT, Google's Gemini, and Microsoft CopIlot could carry on lengthy, discrete conversations where they'd do a decent job of maintaining context (the longer the conversation, the wonkier this could get). If, however, you ended one conversation and started another, it was like meeting a completely different person who knew nothing about you or the conversation you had three minutes ago.

Unlike human memory, which can remember some things forever but easily forget others, ChatGPT Plus Memory is in your control.

Controlling ChatGPT Plus Memory

As I mentioned earlier, you can help ChatGPT Plus build its Memory by telling it things about yourself that you want it to remember. By doing so, you'll notice that when you ask, say, your age or where you live, it will be able to tell you. ChatGPT will also take those details and combine them with future queries, which could shorten your conversation and make the results more accurate and useful.

Memory is enabled by default. You can find it under Settings/Personalization. There's a toggle switch where you can turn it off.

ChatGPT Plus Memory

ChatGPT Plus Memory control. (Image credit: Future)

To see all of ChatGPT Plus' memories, you select the Manage button, which sits right below the Memory description and toggle. Initially, even though I told ChatGPT Plus to remember things about me, my memory box remained empty. If I had found any in there, I could clear all of them or select only the ones I wanted to remove.

However, when I told ChatGPT “I really love houseplants,” I saw a little notation appear right above its response that said: “Memory updated.” When I selected that, the memory, “Loves houseplants”, appeared below it, and right below that, a link to Manage memories.

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ChatGPT Plus Memory

(Image credit: Future)
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ChatGPT Plus Memory

(Image credit: Future)
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ChatGPT Plus Memory

(Image credit: Future)
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ChatGPT Plus Memory

I made ChatGPT Plus remember my love of houseplants (Image credit: Future)

Later, when I asked ChatGPT Plus how I might liven up my home, it answered, in part (I bolded the relevant bit), “Adding some houseplants is a great way to liven up your home! They not only beautify the space but also improve air quality and can enhance your mood. Since you love houseplants, you might consider diversifying the types you have….”

As noted, Memory is not free. A ChatGPT Plus subscription, which gives you, among other things, access to the GPT-4 model, costs $ 20 /£20 a month.  I asked OpenAI if any version of Memory is coming to non-paying ChatGPT users and will update this post with their response.

Sure, ChatGPT Plus Memory nudges the generative AI in the direction of humanity, but there is, as far as I know, no way to go into anyone's mind and delete some or all memories.

ChatGPT Plus Memory

Temporary Chat will turn off memories for that that. (Image credit: Future)

While you can turn off Memories, you might like the middle option, which uses the new “Temporary Chat” to introduce short-term amnesia to the system.

To use it, choose the ChatGPT model you want from the drop-down menu and then select “Temporary chat”. Now, nothing you share with ChatGPT Plus during that chat will be added to its memory.

Come to think of it, a real friend, who only remembers what you want them to, could come in handy.

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ChatGPT is getting human-like memory and this might be the first big step toward General AI

ChatGPT is becoming more like your most trusted assistant, remembering not just what you've told it about yourself, your interests, and preferences, but applying those memories in future chats. It's a seemingly small change that may make the generative AI appear more human and, perhaps, pave the way for General AI, which is where an AI brain can operate more like the gray matter in your head.

OpenAI announced the limited test in a blog post on Tuesday, explaining that it's testing the ability of ChatGPT (in both the free version and ChatGPT Plus) to remember what you tell it across all chats. 

ChatGPT can with this update remember casually, just picking up interesting bits along the way, like my preference for peanut butter on cinnamon raisin bagels, or what you explicitly tell it to remember. 

The benefit of ChatGPT having a memory is that new conversations with ChatGPT no longer start from scratch. A fresh prompt could have, for the AI, implied context. A ChatGPT with memory becomes more like a useful assistant who knows how you like your coffee in the morning or that you never want to schedule meetings before 10 AM.

In practice, OpenAI says that the memory will be applied to future prompts. If you tell ChatGPT that you have a three-year-old who loves giraffes, subsequent birthday card ideation chats might result in card ideas featuring a giraffe.

ChatGPT won't simply parrot back its recollections of your likes and interests, but will instead use that information to work more efficiently for you.

It can remember

Some might find an AI that can remember multiple conversations and use that information to help you a bit off-putting. That's probably why OpenAI is letting people easily opt out of the memories by using the “Temporary Chat” mode, which will seem like you're introducing a bit of amnesia to ChatGPT.

Similar to how you can remove Internet history from your browser, ChatGPT will let you go into settings to remove memories (I like to think of this as targeted brain surgery) or you can conversationally tell ChatGPT to forget something.

For now, this is a test among some free and ChatGPT Plus users but OpenAI offered no timeline for when it will roll out ChatGPT memories to all users. I didn't find the feature live in either my free ChatGPT or Plus subscription.

OpenAI is also adding Memory capabilities to its new app-like GPTs, which means developers can build the capability into bespoke chatty AIs. Those developers will not be able to access memories stored within the GPT.

Too human?

An AI with long-term memory is a dicier proposition than one that has a transient, at best, recall of previous conversations. There are, naturally, privacy implications. If ChatGPT is randomly memorizing what it considers interesting or relevant bits about you, do you have to worry about your details appearing in someone else's ChatGPT conversations? Probably not. OpenAI promises that memories will be excluded from ChatGPT's training data.

OpenAI adds in its blog, “We're taking steps to assess and mitigate biases, and steer ChatGPT away from proactively remembering sensitive information, like your health details – unless you explicitly ask it to.” That might help but ChatGPT must understand the difference between useful and sensitive info, a line that might not always be clear.

This update could ultimately have significant implications. ChatGPT can in prompt-driven conversations already seem somewhat human, but its hallucinations and fuzzy memories about, sometimes, even how the conversation started make it clear that more than a few billion neurons still separate us.

Memories, especially information delivered casually back to you throughout ChatGPT conversations, could change that perception. Our relationships with other people are driven in large part by our shared experiences and memories of them. We use them to craft our interactions and discussions. It's how we connect. Surely, we'll end up feeling more connected to a ChatGPT that can remember our distaste of spicy food and our love of all things Rocky Balboa.

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