Quick Bites | What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT – the viral artificial intelligence chatbot


ChatGPT is a “chatbot” powered by artificial intelligence. If you are not quite sure what that sentence meant, you are not alone! A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users over the internet based on a prompt. It responds in a natural, intuitive way and has almost unlimited potential uses.


ChatGPT was released in November 2022 by artificial intelligence research company OpenAI and has gone viral as users test out its capabilities and imagine how disruptive it might become. Some artificial intelligence experts believe that ChatGPT could revolutionise both the way humans interact with chatbots and AI more broadly.


The “GPT” in ChatGPT stands for “Generative Pre-training Transformer,” referring to the way that ChatGPT processes language. One of the features that sets ChatGPT apart from other chatbots is that it was trained using reinforcement learning from human feedback to develop into a bot capable of challenging incorrect assumptions, answering follow-up questions, and admitting mistakes. It can answer questions, write poetry, compose a short story, and do your kid’s homework – and unlike a calculator, which always gives the same answer, large language models like ChatGPT are probabilistic technologies which can give different answers to the same question at different times.


How disruptive might ChatGPT become? Big Tech is certainly taking it seriously, with Microsoft reportedly negotiating a $10 billion one third stake in the company. Perhaps it will challenge Google as a dominant search engine. It certainly poses an issue for the education sector: concerns about the misuse of ChatGPT for academic cheating have grown large enough that new apps designed to identify and expose writing created by the bot are being released.


For some, ChatGPT poses additional and more serious risks. For instance, could the bot be used to make malware and phishing attacks more sophisticated, or will hackers utilise the technology to develop their own AI models? In the meantime, it is pretty interesting playing around with ChatGPT. I asked it to compose a haiku about its disruptive capabilities, and this is what it came up with:


Chatbot mind so vast,

Disruption in its wake left,

Efficiency reigns.


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