The tech world churns out overnight successes almost on a daily basis, but when a startup founded less than four months old gets Microsoft to sign $10 billion in one cheque at a valuation of $29 billion, questions begin to fly.
ChatGPT was created by OpenAI to be special from the onset. It is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool used to converse, generate readable text on demand and even produce original images and videos from what the AI has learned from interacting with vast amounts of data including digital books, online articles and writings, and other media materials.
As a large language model, the primary objective of ChatGPT is to assist users with language processing. For example, Microsoft is exploring integrating the AI tool into its popular office software which could help users of features like Microsoft Word write more accurately and with fewer errors by suggesting alternative words and phrases as they type.
“Anyone that is not studying ChatGPT closely is going to be left behind. Whether you are an executive who is looking to improve processes, hire the best people or keep up with your competition,” said Ngozi Dozie, co-founder of Carbon, a Nigerian-based digital bank platform.
Here are some of the questions you may want answered:
What do you know about OpenAI and its founders?
OpenAI started as a non-profit research company founded by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and Sam Altman, former President of Y Combinator, in 2015 to develop and direct artificial intelligence in ways that benefit humanity as a whole.
The two founders started OpenAI with a $1 billion pledge. Musk left the company in 2018 over concerns of a conflict of interest with Tesla, the automotive and clean energy company he runs as CEO. The founders created OpenAI partly to counter an existential concern about the potential for catastrophe resulting from carelessness and misuse of general-purpose AI. Research and patents made by the company are intended to remain open to the public except in cases where they could negatively affect safety.
OpenAI changed from a non-profit to a capped-profit corporation which is a hybrid of for-profit and non-profit. Later that year, Microsoft invested $1 billion in the company. The latest $10 billion investment in 2023 is the second time Microsoft is betting on the company. OpenAI launched ChatGPT on 30 November 2022.
“ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response,” OpenAI noted in a statement issued at the launch in November. “We are excited to introduce ChatGPT to get users’ feedback and learn about its strength and weaknesses.”
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Is ChatGPT a chatbot?
If you think about chatbots in the sense of Nigerian banks launching banking chatbots in 2018, you may not have the full picture. Most of the bank chatbots have since been decommissioned as they did not live up to the hype.
ChatGPT, however, is an advanced chatbot built to do almost anything including coding and interacting that mimics human intelligence. It is trained to learn what human beings mean when they ask a question.
GPT-3.5, which ChatGPT is built on, was trained on massive amounts of data about code and information from the internet, including sources like Reddit discussions, to help ChatGPT learn dialogue and attain a human style of responding.
ChatGPT was also trained using human feedback (a technique called Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback) so that the AI learned what humans expected when they asked a question. With this technique, ChatGPT learns the ability to follow directions and generate responses that are satisfactory to people.
How does ChatGPT affect my job?
As with all things AI, there are no guarantees that jobs are not going to be replaced as machines get more intelligent and able to learn and deliver on some of the critical tasks once seen as exclusive to humans.
The buzz around ChatGPT is that it could potentially threaten jobs in programming given that anybody with a rudimentary coding knowledge would be able to use the tool to create projects. In this sense, entry-level programmers may need to upgrade their knowledge as quickly as possible to bring more value to their jobs. Customer support jobs may also be threatened. ChatGPT is primarily created to give a better customer experience to consumers that are human-like. ChatGPT’s ability to write complete essays as well as blog posts means content creators have strong competition. This is also true for people who write texts for marketing campaigns, advertisements, and social media.
Nonetheless, ChatGPT is not a perfect AI, yet, but it is increasingly being improved by OpenAI to be more accurate. There are currently several limitations including having a database that stops in 2021 which affects the effectiveness of ChatGPT.
It also lacks the ability to separate facts and fiction, a functionality that it may never have. For example, Habeeb Shopeju, a Research Engineer in Machine Learning at Thompson Reuters in December used ChatGPT to write an application letter in the Yoruba language and the result did not meet expectations because the AI couldn’t construct some words in the language. In another experiment, the Information Age, a media house used ChatGPT to write an entire story about ChatGPT and posted the final product. While the piece is as simple as you can ask for, it also generated fake quotes which it attributed to an OpenAI researcher, John Smith.
There is also the point that ChatGPT would not be deployed to war to talk to soldiers at the war front nor would it be able to read the emotions of footballers or athletes who just lost a game.
But tech experts like Dan Shipper, CEO of Every, a digital media platform, consider the existing GPT 3 with its limitations as capable of becoming a second brain, especially for notes.
“1. Notes will be automatically tagged and linked, no manual work is required. 2. Notes will be automatically enriched and synthesised to help you find patterns. 3. CoPilot-like functionality will resurface key information from previous notes in context as you type,” Shipper said.
Ngozi Dozie says ChatGPT as a learning tool might pose a threat to learning platforms like Udemy or Coursera.
“Don’t forget version 4 is still coming. This is not perfect and it will not always give the right answer. But there is a lot of goodness inside. If you are not using it, your competitors are,’ Dozie said.
Who can use ChatGPT?
At the moment, it is a platform that can only be used by people with basic knowledge of programming. This can be anyone, individual or business. To use the ChatGPT, you will first need to visit the OpenAI website https://chat.openai.com/chat and create an account. Once you have an account, you can access ChatGPT through the website and start using it right away.