I’m a techie. I like video games, state-of-the-art mobile phones, and staying up to date with the latest developments. However, there have been very few moments in my life when I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I experienced that feeling when I first connected to the Internet —after hearing the modem’s weird noises— and did my first search on Altavista (one of the most prominent search engines before Google). It also happened when I got my first iPhone and the first time I played an online video game.
Although I don’t recall many other situations like those, I relived that feeling this week when I visited ChatGPT, the language model developed by OpenAI that specializes in text generation and allows us to chat with this technology in real time. While I understand how it works (at least the basics of it) and I know how artificial intelligence algorithms are trained, some things never cease to amaze me. And how well this algorithm understands and answers questions is definitely among those things.
ChatGPT is a chat system based on the GPT-3 AI language model developed by OpenAI, whose founders include Elon Musk. And this tech works so well that it’s practically impossible to detect whether a text was written by the algorithm or by a human being. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It often makes incorrect assertions. So, while it “writes well,” it doesn’t always provide accurate information.
But here’s what I love about it: We have yet to discover ChatGPT’s full potential. It will depend mainly on people’s ingenuity and the different use cases they can come up with. For instance, a developer created a quiz website based on the answers given by the algorithm, some users made it compile code, and others turned it into a Linux virtual machine.
Some users even believe that it could become Google’s competitor, at least for specific stuff like the steps to complete a given task. Here’s an example of a brief conversation I had with the algorithm:
My question: How can I see how much free space there’s left on my MacBook’s disk using Terminal?
Its answer: “To see how much free space is left on your MacBook’s disk using Terminal, you can use the “df” command. This command will show you a list of all the disk partitions on your MacBook, along with the amount of free space available on each partition. To use the “df” command, open Terminal on your MacBook and type “df” followed by the Enter key. This will display a list of all the disk partitions on your MacBook, along with the amount of free space available on each partition.”
But Google is only one of many who may face some trouble due to ChatGPT. The algorithm can significantly help developers. A user can ask for advice on how to do something, and the system provides answers. And there are other tools capable of doing this. Some time ago, for example, GitHub launched Copilot, an artificial intelligence created to help developers get things done faster and not get bored with repetitive tasks.
Undoubtedly, the first industries that come to mind when we think of the potential applications of ChatGPT are those related to automated customer service or virtual assistants such as Alexa or Siri. The algorithm could improve their ability to understand what users want.
Be that as it may, it’s still too early to tell. We can’t even begin to imagine ChatGPT’s final form yet, or how it will be used by companies and users alike. In the meantime, I’m having fun chatting with the algorithm to see if I can get any interesting answers.
Before leaving, I asked ChatGPT if its underlying technology could bring about a revolution. Here’s the answer: “It is possible that the underlying technology behind ChatGPT, which is a large language model trained by OpenAI, could be used in a way that leads to significant advancements or changes in various fields. However, it is difficult to predict exactly how this technology will be used and what kind of impact it will have in the future. Additionally, any potential “revolution” that may be brought about by this technology would likely be the result of the combined efforts and innovations of many individuals and organizations, rather than the technology itself.”