ChatGPT can generate articles, fictional stories, poems and even computer code. ChatGPT also can answer questions, engage in conversations and, in some cases, deliver detailed responses to highly specific questions and queries.
Harvard Business Review has described the ChatGPT as a “tipping point for AI.” When a user types a question, command or comment into a dialog box in the ChatGPT engine, it delivers a near-immediate text-based response in the same language.
One thing that sets ChatGPT apart from other chatbots and NLP systems is its ultrarealistic conversational skills, including an ability to ask follow-up questions, admit mistakes and point out nuances about a topic. In many cases, it’s impossible to detect that a human is interacting with a computer-generated bot. Grammatical and syntax errors are rare and written constructions are logical and articulate.
GPT3 was introduced in November 2022 and gained over one million users within a week. It is currently in a research preview phase that allows individuals and businesses to use it at no charge.
This conversational AI tool is part of a growing wave of chatbots and personal assistants that harness natural language processing so that humans can interact with computers in a more natural and intuitive way. However, the platform isn’t without concerns. Some observers worry about students and others using GPT3 to generate essays and reports, while many worry about its potential impact on fields such as journalism and technical writing.
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ChatGPT and OpenAI
ChatGPT was developed by Open AI, a company that develops artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language tools.
OpenAI’s stated aim is develop AI tools that “benefit all of humanity.” The firm was founded in 2015 as a non-profit entity by leading experts in the field, including entrepreneur Sam Altman (CEO) and technologist Greg Brockman (CTO).
OpenAI started with US $1 billion in venture capital funding. Then, in 2019, Microsoft invested US $1 billion in the company and the firm became a “capped” (100x on any investment) for-profit company. If the firm reaches that point, any additional profits will be returned to the public.
OpenAI introduced its first NLP language model, Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), in June 2020. The platform includes an API that is available for commercial purchase. GPT-3 made it possible to answer questions, generate computer code in languages such as Python and generate text in different spoken languages.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT is a more advanced publicly available tool based on GPT-3.5. In addition, OpenAI offers an NLP image generation platform called DALL-E, which generates realistic images based on natural language input.
Former Google, Tesla and Leap Motion executives who are leading experts on artificial intelligence and machine learning are part of OpenAI’s leadership team and technical workforce.
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How Does ChatGPT Work?
The goal of developing natural language systems that operate in a highly convincing way has been taking shape over the last century. Films such as 2001 a Space Odyssey and Her have explored the idea of machines that can communicate in convincing—what some describe as meaningful and even sentient—ways.
Over the last decade, more powerful computing frameworks, including graphical processing units (GPUs), along with markedly improved algorithms, have fueled enormous advances in deep learning and NLP.
OpenAI originally built the GPT 3.5 language model from web content and other publicly available sources. It then used supervised machine learning techniques to build ChatGPT. Human trainers played the role of both the user and the AI agent—generating a variety of responses to any given input and then evaluating and ranking them from best to worst. This data was used to train a reward model.
An OpenAI reinforcement learning algorithm called Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), which relies on a technique similar to Stochastic Gradient Descent, fine-tuned results. The result was ultra-fast performance with reduced computational power required to operate the NLP framework.
OpenAI used the Azure AI supercomputer infrastructure to tackle the training process. It completed the task in late 2021. ChatGPT incorporates a stateful approach, meaning that it can use previous inputs from the same session to generate far more accurate and contextually relevant results. It incorporates a moderation filter that screens racist, sexist, biased, illegal and offensive input.
However, the system has a limited ability to generate results for events that occurred after its primary training phase. As a result, information gaps are sometimes visible, and many recent events aren’t reflected in ChatGPT. Some information is also outdated. The system also lacks information about certain people, including celebrities.
The ChatGPT platform currently has some limitations, according to OpenAI. These include sometimes nonsensical answers, a tendency to be verbose, and an inability to ask appropriate clarifying questions when a user enters an ambiguous query or statement. In some cases, changing a word or two can dramatically alter the outcome within ChatGPT.
However, OpenAI monitors responses and feedback using an external content filter. This helps the company flag false positives and false negatives (and other issues) along with potentially harmful output. The information is used to update and improve the AI model.
ChatGPT, NLP and AI Chatbots
Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Baidu, GitHub, Meta, Apple, IBM, Nvidia, Baidu and others have also constructed natural language processing frameworks that deliver different features and capabilities. These include digital assistants, predictive coding tools and chatbots.
However, OpenAI’s ChatGPT is currently considered by many to be the most advanced NLP chatbot engine. It typically delivers remarkably accurate and engaging responses to wide-ranging questions and queries about technology, science, business, history, sports, literature, culture, art and much more.
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ChatGPT and Business
The ability to generate realistic and easy-to-understand text could fundamentally change business. Among other things, it could help companies develop websites, reports, marketing materials, human resources handbooks and many other text-based assets. It could aid in tasks related to complex data analysis.
In addition, customer support and self-help could change drastically with systems that deliver accurate insights and fixes for problems—including support across multiple languages. AI chatbots could also aid law firms, medical professionals and many others.
As labor shortages accelerate and the need for automation grows, tools such as ChatGPT could help fill the gap—particularly for more mundane tasks and content that doesn’t require a high level of creativity or insight. In many cases, AI chatbots with NLP capabilities could speed content creation but also help organizations achieve greater flexibility, including one-to-one content personalization.
Likewise, ChatGPT could help schools, non-profit organizations and government agencies generate written materials and deliver technical support with limited budgets and staffing.
Here’s an example of how ChatGPT responded to the question: What are the business benefits of chatbots?
Chatbots are computer programs that use natural language processing and other artificial intelligence technologies to communicate with humans in a conversational manner. Chatbots are often used in customer service and other business contexts to help companies interact with their customers more efficiently and effectively. Some of the potential benefits of chatbots for businesses include:
Improved customer service: Chatbots can handle a large volume of customer inquiries and provide timely and accurate responses, which can help improve customer satisfaction and reduce the workload for human customer service representatives.
Reduced costs: Chatbots can automate many routine tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions, which can save businesses time and money.
Increased sales: Chatbots can provide personalized product recommendations and other information to customers, which can help businesses increase sales and revenue.
Improved customer engagement: Chatbots can help businesses maintain regular communication with their customers and provide personalized, relevant information to keep them engaged with the brand.
These are just some of the potential benefits of chatbots for businesses. The exact benefits will depend on the specific chatbot and how it is used by the business. If you would like to learn more, I suggest looking up additional information about chatbots and their potential benefits for businesses.
Concerns About ChatGPT
The ChatGPT platform is currently in a beta test phase. Although it has received mostly favorable reactions, the tool isn’t without issues and critics. In some cases—as a result of using statistical methods rather than creating a way to understand the meaning of actual language—it generates simplistic, incorrect, disturbing and even shocking responses. It also sometimes flunks basic math problems. Worse, the system can be used to generate phishing emails free of errors. And it has produced content that is racist or sexist when users applied tricks to bypass the system’s filters.
For now, Open AI describes the ChatGPT platform as a tool designed to complement humans rather than replace them. For example, it cannot yet generate footnotes and, while its answers are often accurate and engaging, they sometimes don’t represent the complete picture and they aren’t always synced with the specific messaging that a marketing team or other business function might require.
In a worst-case scenario, the AI engine produces text that’s well-written but completely off target or wrong. Thus, humans might plug deceptive or incorrect ChatGPT text into a document or use it to intentionally deceive and manipulate readers.
Other concerns exist. One revolves around the possibility that students will be able to generate high quality essays and reports without actually researching or writing them. Another is that the technology could lead to the end of many jobs, particularly in fields such as journalism, scriptwriting, software development, technical support and customer service. The AI platform could also deliver a more sophisticated framework for web searches, potentially displacing search engines like Google and Bing.
Finally, some have complained that the platform should not be regulated for speech and content.
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Future of ChatGPT
It’s highly likely that within a few years the ChatGPT platform and other AI-based NLP tools will play a major role in the business world—and in everyday life. They could enhance and perhaps supplant today’s search engines, redefine customer service and technical support functions, and introduce more advanced ways to generate written content. They will also lead to advances in digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa.
Although some observers have predicted that natural language processing could eliminate many jobs, the technology is more likely to play a niche but expanding role in eliminating routine tasks and non-creative functions. For example, ChatGPT or a similar bot might generate text or computer code, but a human would then review it and possibly enhance it. In many cases, these businesses would benefit by automating tasks and redeploying humans for more strategic functions.
While it’s tempting to consider chatbots and other NLP frameworks sentient—the ability to display human-like feelings and sensations—linguistics experts and computer scientists caution that these systems simply mirror language and deliver convincing responses to various forms of input.
Nevertheless, AI chatbots and other NLP systems are rapidly redefining and rewiring the way humans and machines interact. In the coming years, ChatGPT and others will enable new products, services and features. Businesses leaders should monitor the technology, experiment with it and be ready to move forward when the right opportunity appears.
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