If you’ve flicked through Twitter at any point in the last few weeks – and let’s face it, recent events have meant that’s no longer a given – you’ve likely come across OpenAI’s latest chatbot, ChatGPT (opens in new tab).
This new language-based computer program – known in full as Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer – is raising the bar for artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, it’s become so popular, so quickly, that its parent company has asked users to “hang tight” while it “scales up” the system to accommodate so many newcomers.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, per ChatGPT’s own AI-generated description, the software “can be used for a variety of tasks, including language translation, summarization, and chatbot responses.” But that’s being modest, to say the least.
ChatGPT is different to other chatbots because it uses natural language techniques to answer user-generated questions in a genuinely conversational way. Its presentation of information is cohesive – even human-like – where other chatbots read as patently robotic. Notwithstanding a few kinks, the system could genuinely prove a gamechanger for the way we consume information in 2023 – and below, we’ve highlighted six reasons why.
ChatGPT could reinvent the search engine
Let’s kick off with the biggun. ChatGPT’s ability to quickly and succinctly answer questions has led many – including us, in this very article – to suggest that it could eventually replace traditional search engines like Google and Bing.
Where Google responds to queries with pages (and pages) of blue links ranked by search engine optimization (SEO), ChatGPT’s AI collates information from thousands of sources to provide direct answers in a conversational manner. Take a look at the examples in the below tweet thread to see the software in action:
Google is done.Compare the quality of these responses (ChatGPT) pic.twitter.com/VGO7usvlIBNovember 30, 2022
ChatGPT has proved capable of answering more than just fact-based queries, too. Need some advice on how to deal with a breakup? Or last-minute Christmas gift ideas for those hard-to-buy-for in-laws? Say no more: ChatGPT can help.
The software does, however, have drawbacks in its current beta form that mean it won’t replace Google et al. just yet. For instance, its library of sources isn’t updated in real time – at present, ChatGPT’s answers are based on information correct as of 2021.
Another red flag is the software’s lack of source disclosure. ChatGPT doesn’t tell users where it gets its answers from (primarily because they’re generated from thousands of sources), which makes the information it imparts hard to verify.
Both limitations, though, could conceivably be rectified in a full-scale, audience-tested version of the software – which may well have Google quaking in its boots.
ChatGPT can write computer code
Another benefit of ChatGPT is its ability to both write complex computer code (to a user’s specifications) and find mistakes in existing code.
ChatGPT understands *and* synthesizes natural language. And computer code. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/h3odnYIqfJDecember 7, 2022
Business analyst Sun Kim’s Medium tutorial article (opens in new tab) is a good place to start if you’re looking to try out ChatGPT’s code-generating skills for yourself.
ChatGPT can draft business letters and contracts
Legal departments, look away now. If you input the terms of an agreement between two parties, ChatGPT is capable of drawing up a watertight contract, irrespective of subject matter.
🤯I just signed a legal contract that was written by AI (OpenAI’s ChatGPT)After I signed, the other party let me know AI wrote the whole contract from a few terms they told it to include.December 14, 2022
Disclaimer: we’re not suggesting you turn to AI for all your contract-writing needs just yet – but there’s no reason to doubt that the software could smoothen lengthy administrative processes in the near future.
ChatGPT can create and adapt fiction
This one is pretty mind-blowing. Using those aforementioned language skills, ChatGPT can create, adapt and analyse all types of fiction. For instance, TechRadar’s US Editor in Chief, Lance Ulanoff, recently asked the chatbot to write a Christmas story based on a few narrative specifications, and the result was pretty darn impressive.
A lot of people complain that the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” is way too long. ChatGPT did a fast, quick rewrite. The title isn’t bad, either. pic.twitter.com/yvnDMxcRQmDecember 6, 2022
Even more impressive, though, is the below example, which shows ChatGPT responding to the following query: “Write a biblical verse in the style of the King James bible explaining how to remove a peanut butter sandwich from a VCR.”
I’m sorry, I simply cannot be cynical about a technology that can accomplish this. pic.twitter.com/yjlY72eZ0mDecember 2, 2022
Simply unbelievable stuff.
ChatGPT can compose college-level essays
Here’s one for the kids. ChatGPT has proven capable of producing academic essays to a passable standard. Admittedly, the software’s multi-source method of gathering information leaves little room for nuance or opinion, and risks the occasional factual inaccuracy (in its current state, at least) – but if you’re looking to take it easy next semester…
Any jobs that require mediocre essays can now, *in real life*, be done with ChatGPT assistance! Students who use ChatGPT to generate essays are *realistically* showing they can handle the mediocre-essay-writing jobs for which modern universities are vigorously training them.December 21, 2022
ChatGPT can get you out of a bind
Have you ever found yourself needing to craft a polite email to call in sick, reject an advance or answer an exceedingly awkward question? ChatGPT can help you navigate these situations with competence. Check out the below tweet – from Lance again – to see these people skills in action:
I will now be sending this email response to all “guest post” pitches. Thanks #ChatGPT pic.twitter.com/mf0mKCvtWaDecember 8, 2022