Last week, OpenAI opened up ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot that interacts with users in a highly persuasive conversational manner. Its ability to provide lengthy, thoughtful, and thorough answers to questions and prompts — even if they’re imprecise — has stunned users, including scientists and some in the tech industry.
ChatGPT is a large language model that learns from a huge amount of information on the Internet to generate its responses. It comes from the same company as DALL-E, which generates an infinite range of images in response to user prompts. It is also the next iteration of the GPT-3 text generator.
The chatbot quickly went viral. On Monday, Open AI co-founder Sam Altman, a prominent Silicon Valley investor, announced on Twitter that ChatGPT has surpassed one million users. It’s also caught the attention of some big-name tech leaders, like Box CEO Aaron Levie.
“There is a certain feeling that happens when a new technology adjusts the way you think about computing. Google did it. Firefox did it. AWS made it happen. The iPhone did it. OpenAI is doing it with ChatGPT,” Levie wrote.
But as with other AI-powered tools, it also raises concerns, including how it could undermine creative industries and spread misinformation.
By registering with ChatGPT, users can ask the AI system to ask a series of questions, such as: “Who was the president of the United States in 1955” or to summarize complex concepts so that even a second grader could understand them. It will even answer open-ended questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” or “What should I wear if it’s 40 degrees today?”.
“It depends on what activities you plan to do. If you plan to be outside, you should wear a light jacket or sweater, long pants, and closed-toe shoes,” ChatGPT responded. “If you plan to be inside, you can wear a t-shirt and jeans or other comfortable clothing.”
But some users are very creative. One person asked the chatbot to rewrite the ’90s hit Baby Got Back in the style of The Canterbury Tales; another wrote a letter to remove a bad account from her credit report. Other notable examples include a request for advice on fairy-tale insoired home decor and an English exam question (in response to which the bot wrote a 5-paragraph essay on Wuthering Heights).
Although the DALL-E tool is free, it limits the number of hints a user can receive before having to pay. When Elon Musk, co-founder of OpenAI, recently asked Altman on Twitter about the average cost per ChatGPT chat, Altman replied:
“We’ll have to monetize it somehow at some point; the computing costs are staggering.”
Unfortunately, OpenAI still blocks access users from Ukraine to API GPT-3 and, accordingly, ChatGPT.