ChatGPT has become a common topic around both technology and social circles. It’s one of those topics that jumped from neat tech toy to the new hot topic everyone is talking about, whether they understand it or not. ChatGPT has taken natural language AI and made it mainstream.
ChatGPT has already assisted me in writing work though it has also provided me with lots of incorrect information. Though to its credit, it apologizes and corrects itself when I point it out. Its manners are quite remarkable for a child! With its first preview in 2018, it can now have a real conversation. However, I see the teenage years coming up fast!
I’ve been responding to ad-hoc questions from social and business associates as to what it is and what it can do. So, I asked ChatGPT to create a simple two sentence response as to what it is, and here is one of its replies.
ChatGPT is a language model that can generate human-like text, it can be used for tasks such as language translation, question answering, content generation, text summarization, and more.OpenAI – ChatGPT Jan 9 Version
ChatGPT is an Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is important to remember that it has learned relationships between words by studying millions, if not billions, of sentences from books, educational materials, and the Internet. It doesn’t understand them or experience them. Think of Mr. Spock or Data in Star Trek trying to understand emotions. For my non-trekie readers, Mr. Spock was a Vulcan, and emotions were illogical to Vulcans who could not experience them. Data was, well, an Android with no emotional capability. Well, except when they stuck that emotion chip into him though I digress…
How does it do that?
“That’s creepy!” That was one response when I showed someone the power of ChatGPT. Then they wanted to know how it did what it did.
Think of it as a very complex meal. A vast world of ingredients needs to be reviewed for what should be served. There is prep work required by multiple chefs crafting the ingredients and preparing them for each course to make the entire meal. Each prep chef prepared their part. Closer to the time the meal is served, there is another layer of chefs preparing parts such as the vegetable or entre. And then it’s put all together for your meal when you ask for it. ChatGPT is possible due to lots of ingredients and lots of chefs.
ChatGPT uses a Large Language Model (LLM) and a Neural Network. An LLM is trained on a large text dataset, such as the Internet, to recognize patterns and relationships. It learns the relationship between words and what words and sentences are good responses to other words and sentences. A Neural Network is computing decision power in many layers that can read the LLM dataset and provide answers based on what the user inputs into the ChatGPT prompt. The result is available due to all the prep work that went into creating the LLM.
The more training or deep learning that goes into an LLM, the better the responses. And it gets better with use, just like people get better the more we do almost anything. It’s better at information and logical prompts though it’s creative and humor has surprised me.
Where is this going?
Many companies are working on AI with LLMs and deep learning. OpenAI, Alphabet (Google), Meta (Facebook), IBM, and Nvidia are among the major ones we see written about. Nation-states and others are working on them though they don’t publish as much to the public. Apple has research programs and Microsoft has invested in OpenAI. Many other companies are working on it though the ones listed represent the big ones we see or hear about.
I’ll add another term that I have written about as well and that is Quantum Computing. LLMs and the power of AI are dependent on large computing networks. As ominous as it sounds, Quantum Computing is just that. It will accelerate AI and its abilities. Some say that it will take over jobs and hurt society. While some, including me, believe it is more like the dishwasher and vacuum cleaner. When household cleaning appliances were introduced, it reduced the time it took to clean by a factor greater than 10x for everyone. And these industries created new jobs that employed workers. This is the constant economic cycle of civilization.
ChatGPT and AI are a new realm. They will impact certain work, including writing articles such as this one. However, they will also create new work and jobs that we have not considered. And it is human thinking and ingenuity that will separate the type of work being performed. Who could imagine an AI creating a Pet Rock, Snuggie, or Chia Pet. These are uniquely human inventions, and no matter how well we train AI, it can imitate our humor and creative work, though I don’t see it being Pet Rock creative. In the words of Spock, it is Illogical. And thusly human.