ChatGPT: the artificial intelligence messiah we have all been waiting for?

So I'll let you imagine the capabilities of this new AI system. The truth is that it will change how we work, study, and live. We must adapt to these new powerful tools before it is too late


And it came to pass in these modern times that the prophecy of the long-awaited AI messiah was fulfilled with the birth of ChatGPT. The wise men, skilled in the ways of the internet, followed the online announcements and found the link to ChatGPT. And the flock, ever vigilant for new technologies that could improve their lives, also saw the online signals and went to try it.

The birth of ChatGPT was heralded with great rejoicing, for it was said that this chatbot would bring about a new era of efficiency and productivity. Many spread the good news of ChatGPT's arrival, telling all who would listen of the wonders and marvels of the AI messiah. And it is said that all who embraced ChatGPT were blessed with increased efficiency and improved customer satisfaction.

Those were the online chronicles of what happened a few weeks ago when a revolutionary AI was released. ChatGPT is a highly advanced chatbot released by OpenAI which goes beyond what we're used to with Google. Whereas Google is a search engine which returns a set of documents based on our queries, ChatGPT is a dialogue system capable of answering questions with specific answers.

The factual queries are the easiest ones, with the system capable of giving precise information about the Capital City of France, the discovery of America or the fourth paragraph in Harry Potter. But the strength of ChatGPT goes way beyond that. It can list the steps required to change the oil in my car, explain how to get rid of a cold, or even analyse a set of documents, review them and give me a coherent summary. For the first time ever, an AI seems to be reaching human-level performance, hence the planetary excitement.

The tool gained a million users in just five days, and its servers have reached capacity multiple times due to the influx of users. ChatGPT can perform many tasks, including answering questions, providing personalised recommendations, writing computer code, drafting business letters and rental contracts, composing homework essays, and even passing university exams. The AI model is trained on a large portion of the internet. It can complete whole sentences or paragraphs, similar to autocomplete on the phone.

However, it's essential to hold one's horses and not get too excited. If we peep deeper into the algorithm, we start facing obvious limitations. ChatGPT lacks an understanding of the meaning behind its responses and can struggle to distinguish between truth and falsehood, often resulting in persuasive lies.

For example, when asked, "What is the fastest marine mammal?", ChatGPT may initially respond with "The fastest marine mammal is the sailfish." When informed that the sailfish is not a mammal, ChatGPT may then respond with, "You are correct; the sailfish is not a mammal. I apologise for the mistake. The fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon". We don't need the expertise of Sir David  Attenborough to know that a falcon is not a marine mammal!

This is rather dangerous for a tool in widespread use. We all know that most people do not question the information they find online. The modern digital landscape allows for the spread of low-quality information, as people no longer rely on professional gatekeepers (such as newspapers) to filter out rumours and falsehoods. Furthermore, the public has not been adequately trained in evaluating information online, leading to the rise of fake news. The main criteria people use to share information is whether or not that text confirms their preexisting beliefs (even though it might be false).

Furthermore, the language style used by ChatGPT is quite authoritative, and even if the system is churning out blatant lies, it does so in a convincing manner. Hence, it is essential for anyone using the system to analyse the replies and question their validity.

Unlike many other AI advancements, ChatGPT has not been accompanied by peer-reviewed scientific papers or open-sourced code. Thus the scientific community cannot be sure about the soundness of the approach used. This is notable given that OpenAI was initially founded as a non-profit to promote and develop "friendly" AI that benefits humanity. However, in 2019, OpenAI became a for-profit company with a $1 billion investment from Microsoft. OpenAI appears to be using user feedback to filter out fake answers from the chatbot. This feedback is likely being used to improve the chatbot's performance, but it also raises concerns about the transparency and accountability of the chatbot's responses.

What we have today is far from perfect, but we cannot deny it's pretty amazing. In a few months, OpenAI will launch GPT4, an AI model they've worked on for the past two years that is 1000 times larger than what we have today. So I'll let you imagine the capabilities of this new AI system. The truth is that it will change how we work, study, and live. We must adapt to these new powerful tools before it is too late. ChatGPT is still far from being the prophesized Messiah, but it can probably be equated to John the Baptist, preparing the way for the coming of the AI that will change the world forever.

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