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ChatGPT: The good, the bad and the ugly

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  • By Mahesh de Andrado
ChatGPT, introduced by OpenAI in November 2022, sparked significant attention. An LLM (large language model), think of ChatGPT as an AI Chatbot that empowers users to shape and guide conversations using various parameters like length, format, style, level of detail, and language. By simply entering a query or research topic, ChatGPT adeptly constructs comprehensive and easily comprehensible responses by drawing information from diverse sources.

To achieve this capability, ChatGPT underwent rigorous training, conducted by human trainers. Moreover, it harnessed the power of Microsoft Azure supercomputing infrastructure, featuring Nvidia GPUs especially designed for OpenAI by Microsoft. The system also benefits from user queries, using the data to continually refine and optimize its performance. User feedback, expressed through upvotes, downvotes, and additional input, contributes to enhancing future results.

The WGA strike highlights the threat to both human writers as well as actors (Image Credits: Reuters)

Initially accessible solely via web browsers, ChatGPT later released dedicated apps for iOS in June 2023 and Android in July 2023. Intrigued by the app’s potential, I decided to give it a try and share my impressions here.

The Good

For starters, the app is incredibly easy to use. All you need is to install it on your iOS or Android device, and launch it. I installed it onto my Android device, logged in with my Google account and I was ready to go. I decided to play around with ChatGPT on some current topics and I must say the results were quite entertaining.

ChatGPT has come a long way since November 2022, offering not only compelling arguments and key points to discuss, but also having the know-how to formulate it into an actual essay, with a title, numerous sub headings and even a conclusion. Needless to say, if this was available back in the day (8-10 years ago), all our assignments would have been a lot easier.

The Bad

Remember Uncle Ben’s wise words to young Peter Parker – “With great power, comes great responsibility”? While ChatGPT is a remarkable tool, certain considerations need to be taken into account. As it gathers data from diverse sources, the lack of real validation, except for user feedback, leaves room for potential inaccuracies. Relying solely on its responses without cross-referencing may lead to unreliable results.

Additionally, ChatGPT’s information database is only up to September 2021. Consequently, it may not yield accurate results for topics predating that period. I encountered this when seeking details about a new motherboard, as ChatGPT had no information about it. Nevertheless, it was quick to acknowledge its limitations and suggested checking the manufacturer’s website or reliable tech sources, which was a thoughtful touch.

On the flip side, the vast amount of information at ChatGPT’s disposal carries some controversial implications. With cleverly chosen keywords, I could effortlessly coax the model into generating entire stories, despite my lack of storytelling prowess. This raises questions about the authenticity and credibility of the information produced.

The Ugly

This is where things get tricky. If fed enough information, and if you word it correctly, there’s nothing to stop you from abusing the power of this Chat bot. For example, if you have to turn in a two page report on a particular topic, you can very well get ChatGPT to write it for you, and no one will be the wiser. The bot is able to provide a title, and numerous subheadings along with pros and cons (if asked to do so) and the results are indeed impressive.

So who’s to stop ChatGPT from, say, writing the entire plot for a movie or an episode from a popular TV series? In fact, this is one of the key issues causing the ongoing WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike, with the other being streaming content. While both writers and actors are lobbying for better pay, a key pressure point is that both parties are fighting for contracts that prevent an AI from replacing them at their jobs, whether it’s writing scripts or appearing as a background actor.

While most arguments say that AI can never match the writing style of a human writer, it may only be a matter of time till that argument is proven wrong. How long will it take? We can never say. But for now, all we know is, ChatGPT as an AI chatbot is here and it should definitely be used with great responsibility.

ChatGPT is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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