ChatGPT - the next big thing
February 7, 2023
AI is already penetrating our digital lives, yet we don’t even notice it. With ChatGPT, the killer application is here to show us how far artificial intelligence has come. The bot will likely trigger an avalanche, and it’s difficult to say what its effects will be. So, it’s high time we engage with this topic.
Step by step
ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pretrained Transformer. Generative Pretrained Transformer is an AI language model that has been trained on large datasets to generate text and answer questions. It analyzes human-created text and recognizes patterns in it that it uses to generate new text that has the same style and language. The technical details behind it are explained in the article “So funktioniert ChatGPT“.
ChatGPT was made available to the public on November 30th. Within five days, it had more than one million users, and as of today, it has more than 100 million users. No app has ever achieved such rapid dissemination.
ChatGPT is an application of the US-based company OpenAI LP. The parent company OpenAI was founded in 2015 as a non-profit AI research company with the goal of making artificial intelligence accessible to humanity as a whole. To accelerate development and facilitate financing, OpenAI founded the subsidiary OpenAI LP. Investors include Microsoft, which has already invested $1 billion and has announced another investment in the billions (exact amount unknown). Elon Musk is no longer among the investors, by the way.
The answering machine for every occasion
ChatGPT provides answers. That’s a very general description. Specifically, it
- answers any questions (and occasionally admits that it cannot answer a question)
- shortens text
- transforms text into a different style, such as simple language or the language of a specific person
- generates summaries
- converts flowing text into bullet points, tables, or other formats you are asking for
- writes text for social media posts, articles for various media, notes for presentations, and much more
- translates text
Context is king
It’s not a sensation that a language AI provides answers. What’s special about ChatGPT is that it understands contexts and is able to navigate within them. That means we not only receive an answer to a question, but we can also ask follow-up questions. We can even indicate to ChatGPT that we’re not satisfied with the answer and want more details. It will answer immediately.
ChatGPT provides many correct answers, but it also makes mistakes. Firstly, the database is not up-to-date and only contains information that was available until the fall of 2021. Secondly, ChatGPT sometimes simply gives a wrong answer. As the answers always sound like full conviction, there is no “I think it’s this and that, but I’m not sure.” statement, wrong answers are posing a risk of being taken as correct. Therefore, ChatGPT works best when we ask it about something we know about. It is not so reliable when we want to learn about new topics.
ChatGPT makes artificial intelligence tangible. Text-based tasks can suddenly be completed in a flash. The blank page in front of us is no longer there, nor are the difficulties of translating text. ChatGPT will change knowledge transfer and make some jobs obsolete. However, the technology behind it will not disappear but rather advance into many other areas that we have not yet seen.