When’s the last time a new piece of tech truly amazed you? Tech is all so good these days, it takes something downright disruptive to dazzle and impress anymore. I suspect ChatGPT will do that for you, the chatbot that will answer anything you ask it, or write you anything you can think of. It probably could have written this article (but don’t tell it I said that).
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that can do just about anything. That’s hardly hyperbole. You can ask ChatGPT a question, and it’ll answer it not only to the best of its abilities, but as if a human wrote the response, sometime’s even getting a little wordy. If you ask it to convert 75 degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius, you might get an answer like this:
The temperature 75 degrees Fahrenheit is equivalent to approximately 23.89 degrees Celsius. To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, you can use the following formula:
Celsius = (Fahrenheit – 32) / 1.8
Using this formula, we can calculate that 75 degrees Fahrenheit is equivalent to (75 – 32) / 1.8 = 23.89 degrees Celsius. This means that 75 degrees Fahrenheit is slightly cooler than the average room temperature, which is typically around 25-26 degrees Celsius.
That’s impressive, but to really have fun with ChatGPT, you can ask it to write you something — a poem, song, script, what have you — with any number of parameters you can think of. And ChatGPT will write it for you.
For example, I asked ChatGPT to write me a scary story about a killer clove of garlic. It returned a seven paragraph story that, while not winning any horror awards, was nonetheless entertaining. Here’s an excerpt:
Once upon a time, in a small Italian village, there was a clove of garlic that was unlike any other. It was larger and more pungent than the others, with a dark and sinister aura. No one knew where it came from, but it soon became known as the “killer garlic.”
But from here, I can tell ChatGPT to modify its tale. I asked it to tell the story again, but to go more into the garlic clove’s backstory. It sent back the same story, with this new paragraph included:
As it turns out, the killer garlic had been cursed by an evil witch, who had been seeking revenge against the villagers for a wrong they had done to her many years ago. She had imbued the garlic with dark magic, turning it into a deadly weapon that could poison anyone who ate it.
Inspired. You can do the same with any idea you can think of, as complicated as you can get. “Write a sad pop song in the style of Taylor Swift about the smallest kitten in the litter befriending a mouse. After growing close, they are torn apart because they are just too different, but they retain fond, if painful, memories of their time together. Include a chorus and a bridge,” yielded fantastic results for Deputy Editor Joel Cunningham. And when I use the same prompt, I get an entirely different song.
The possibilities are virtually endless here. One TikTok creator had ChatGPT create a list of dinners for the week for picky eaters, then asked it to put that data into tables to be easier to read, then asked it to put together a shopping list for those meals. Programmers have sent ChatGPT snippets of code to check for errors, while others have asked it to write them code for specific tasks, which it does with perfect execution.
How does ChatGPT work?
ChatGPT isn’t the first AI chatbot to hit the scene, but it is the first to be this lifelike. ChatGPT runs on GPT-3.5, a language model that developers OpenAI (the minds behind DALL·E 2) trained to create text. That language is combined with Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF), which is the model allowing ChatGPT to engage in dialogue rather than simple text. The real fuel, however, is the massive amount of data OpenAI trained ChatGPT with, pulling information from the internet that was written by people. Not only does it know a lot, it knows how to sound human.
Before things get too scary, we aren’t in an Age of Ultron situation. Yet. ChatGPT isn’t connected to the internet, so it isn’t able to communicate outside of its network. It also doesn’t have much knowledge of anything past 2021, so you might find gaps in its abilities when dealing with anything 2022 related or beyond. Naturally, I asked it to write a Taylor Swift song about midnights, knowing full well ChatGPT is unaware of Taylor’s record-smashing album. I loved my AI-version of “Midnights,” anyway.
The other genius side to all this is that we are now training the model with our queries. OpenAI uses all of our requests as new training tools, to improve the accuracy and relatability of the responses. You can manually give feedback with thumbs up and thumbs down icons, and add any context to your feedback to help train the model.
To get started, go to the official ChatGPT page. If you don’t have an OpenAI account, you’ll need to sign up for one first. While there are many paid services with OpenAI, the account and ChatGPT are both free to use (for now). Once signed in, you can start chatting! Heads up: It’s incredibly addicting.
However, this isn’t the only chatbot option OpenAI offers. There’s also the “Playground,” which gets a bit more technical. The idea is the same: You throw requests and queries at the chatbot, and it churns out shockingly impressive results. However, you can adjust the process with various controls and settings. You can adjust the type of GPT-3 language model the chatbot uses, the “randomness” of the responses, the length of the responses, the likelihood of the model to introduce new topics in a prompt, among many others. This one isn’t as user-friendly as ChatGPT, nor is it entirely free, as you will eventually need to pay for tokens to run tests on the model, but it’s another powerful OpenAI chatbot you can check out right now.
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