It’s crazy how ChatGPT, an AI model created by OpenAI and announced back in November 2022, has taken the world by storm - reaching 100m users within months.

I’m glad to see this particular direction of AI assistance though - it’s exactly what has been expected for quite a few past years. AI is finally becoming not just a tool but a service, similiar to Internet access, which augments and enables increasingly large number of pre-existing, well-known processes.

Clearly, there’s a major shift happening in both how we interact with AI models and what we expect and accept as result of such interaction.

How ChatGPT Works

GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. GPT model is not really creating new information, but rather transforms existing knowledge based on massive pre-training (indexing and analysing) of textual and visual data. Still, such summarisation of pre-existing knowledge and generation of alternative descriptions of the same concepts really looks like a form of research and writing.

Implemented as a chat, GPT interaction looks like a conversation with a really smart person that the research and can explain complex things in an easy-to-understand way:

ChatGPT ChatGPT-4 Explaining Itself

ChatGPT is a really clever take on both making prompts and reinforcing AI model’s learning - you start a chat and get to discuss a particular topic through a series of follow-up questions and clarifications. It’s amazing how keeping context of the conversation helps the whole interaction to feel so much like a real conversation with a knowledgeable person.

Feedback in ChatGPT

Here’s an example of when you can feed back that certain parts of the previous answer don’t make sense and ChatGPT will immediately take this into account and suggest next steps (which may also be wrong and in need of correcting, mind you): ChatGPT ChatGPT, possibly learning from its mistakes

ChatGPT-4 was released in March 2023, so there are multiple models available on the openai website now: ChatGPT Generations ChatGPT Generations

Although clearly superious to previous versions, the latest iteration, ChatGPT-4, is a viction of its own success - even ChatGPT Plus members face occasional timeouts and even outages of the service.

ChatGPT Plus is a paid service that allows you to have interactive access to latest (ChatGPT-4) model on openai website. It wouldn’t automatically upgrade your API access to ChatGPT-4, but is still a great way to access latest features and experience better performance with access to ChatGPT. In line with my earlier comparison to broadband, there’s a premium to be paid for better quality service.

Will ChatGPT-4 Replace Everyone?

Short answer: it depends. We have to be super clear about agreeing on the criteria of how and where ChatGPT-4 can augment and potentially replace certain processes or even professions.

Although looking impressive, ChatGPT is still a narrow-scope AI model. It doesn’t know everything about everything, but can be really helpful with certain tasks like proof reading texts, correcting software code, diagnosing issues and brainstorming ideas. All of this happens thanks to and because of the pre-training on vast amounts of data available online. But because pre-training is still a likelihood approach and not exactly a process of learning all the concepts from source materials, some generalisations are not correct.

ChatGPT Limitations

ChatGPT has access to hundreds of how-to materials and step-by-step instructions on each topic, but can only get you so far when it’s summarising them. Because technologies evolve and also because some components are mutually exclusive, you may get a wrong answer. It’s not always going to be a completely wrong command. The syntax may be valid, but will not result in the desired outcome.

ChatGPT is an exciting development. It may not be quite there to be a reliable automated solution to everything, but it’s certainly a valuable assistant when it comes to researching topics online or looking for a software coding solution - especially because you can ask follow-up questions and get clarifications tailored to your examples and current level of understanding.

Give it a try, you’ll be pleasantly suprised!

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