What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI-powered chat tool that you have probably heard of by now. While a far cry from the warm and funny operating system in the film Her (which is now 10 years old!) ChatGPT is a tool that’s being picked up by computer programmers, students, and marketers alike to help refine creative ideas and streamline tasks. So, let’s take a look at what exactly ChatGPT is why it’s so important, and what you need to consider when using it.

ChatGPT overview

ChatGPT is technically a generative language model, which is more easily understood as an artificial intelligence (AI) that has been trained to have natural conversations. In response to questions, it trawls the internet for relevant information and spits out short- or long-format responses instantly or within seconds.

Encyclopaedic but somewhat colloquial, ChatGPT can give you ideas for dinner or explain how quantum computing works, and even more usefully, it’s able to help draft social media content or thousand-word reports. The somewhat conversational element comes in when it dives deeper into certain parts of a topic or provides more clarity in other areas when prompted.

ChatGPT was created by OpenAI and launched in October 2022, allowing the general public to interact with it. Currently free to use, ChatGPT only requires a login and has a simple user interface with which to ‘chat’.

Why is ChatGPT important?

ChatGPT marks a turning point in the way people interact with search engines and the internet, creating a synthesised and easy-to-understand summary of information rather than the current hunt-and-find model, where users piece together information across multiple sources.

Chat GPT is part of a set of other OpenAI products with notable capabilities. Dall-E is a kind of AI artist that makes visuals based on short briefs, like ‘robots dancing in the desert in a cubist style’. Whisper can translate voice notes into other languages and Codex helps programmers write code.

Microsoft is now working with OpenAI to improve its current products while Google is building its own model. Understanding these technologies now means you can stay ahead and learn to utilise the power of these tools.

How does the tech work?

ChatGPT was built on vast amounts of data on the internet, but it’s been fine-tuned by using human interaction. Creators posed questions and what they determined to be good answers to help train the machine to craft worthy responses rather than jargon or gibberish. Humans then manually ranked responses from best to worst.

Post-launch ChatGPT leverages machine learning by improving its own responses based on both the information it accesses as well as feedback from users. You can up- and down-vote responses based on their usefulness.

How are people using ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is taking multiple industries by storm because of its diverse range of use cases. It’s not just the speed at which it’s able to feed back complex information in a digestible format for research, it’s the fact it can aid creation.

In publishing, languages, topics and styles can be dictated to produce well-written text for articles, reviews and news summaries. In business, the technology can be used to write product descriptions, advertising copy and help inform customer support bot conversations. In science, computer code, even music can be composed by ChatGPT!

What are the risks and limitations of using ChatGPT?

As with all technological tools, there are pitfalls and downsides, especially in the early stages. ChatGPT brings to light ethics issues around accuracy, safety, originality and copyright.

The technology isn’t trained to determine the factuality of its responses and sometimes returns nonsensical or false information. In the worst cases, it’s possible to create harmful instructions and biased narratives, though ChatGPT is better-filtered than other AIs against these forms of content.

Additionally, there are concerns about copyright in the use of the bot to write content. Considering ChatGPT is scanning existing content and synthesising it, to what extent the output is an infringement of original authorship of work is called into question. Furthermore, who is the infringer? ChatGPT as the authoriser of the reproduction, or the person that prompts the bot, as the user of the reproduction? These questions, and many more, will be grappled with in the months and years to come as AI chats are used more widely.

As a new but quickly evolving tech, Chat GPT marks a shift in how we interact with the infinite amount of information on the internet. From helping unstuck writers block to cleaning up buggy code, ChatGPT is best used as a tool to support written projects, not author them. Stay tuned for more on this series on ChatGPT to learn how to use AI powered chat responsibility and to your benefit.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.