What is ChatGPT? All you need to know about the world’s favourite AI chatbot

14 March 2023

It’s the buzzword of the moment, the big new invention that everyone’s talking about. So what exactly is ChatGPT, where did it come from, and is it set to take over the world? Read on for the lowdown on this revolutionary new AI tool. 

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that you can interact with by typing in questions and getting responses back. You might have used other chatbots in the past, particularly for simple customer service enquiries on company websites. The big difference with ChatGPT is the range and extent of its capabilities (more of which later), and the sophistication of its output. At times, it really does feel like you’re talking to another human.

ChatGPT asked what to have for dinner

What does ChatGPT stand for?

ChatGPT is a bit of a mouthful, but its full name describes exactly what it does. GPT actually stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer – a machine that generates new answers, thanks to a vast data set that it has been exposed to. 

(In AI terms, a transformer is a machine learning model that’s particularly well-suited to language learning.)  

How does ChatGPT work?

In essence, ChatGPT works by using machine learning to generate responses that are similar to what a human might say, based on the input it receives. The more data it is trained on, the more accurate and diverse its responses become.

For a more detailed explanation, you can always ask ChatGPT to explain it for you!

How is ChatGPT trained?

Developed by a research group called OpenAI, ChatGPT was in training for several months before its release in November 2022. (There is still some mystery behind this: in its own words, “the exact duration of my training is not publicly disclosed”).

The training involved exposing the AI to huge volumes of written data taken from the internet, and letting it get familiar with the language patterns that exist within it. The end goal was to give the bot such a deep understanding of that data that it would be able to follow the patterns to generate its own, original and unique outputs.

Now that ChatGPT is available for anyone to interact with, it hasn’t stopped learning. Every time you chat with the AI, you provide another educational experience to help it (and its creators) to hone its trade.

Will ChatGPT change the world?

Some people think so! ChatGPT is just one of a whole range of new and revolutionary AI tools that are emerging in earnest right now. Many people who have witnessed the capabilities of these new tools predict that they (and the developments in technology that come next) could radically transform all areas of our lives. One particular area that’s on our minds right now is the impact that ChatGPT will have on the world of work. 

Person working on computer using ChatGPT

How can ChatGPT help you to work more efficiently?

ChatGPT and other AI tools can produce reams of text in an instant. So they have the potential to drastically cut the time it takes to do a multitude of different tasks. 

These are likely to include:

  • Content creation – producing written text in a variety of formats such as poems, blogs, product descriptions and even stories
  • Language translation
  • Customer service
  • Data analysis and insights
  • Scheduling and time management
  • Troubleshooting and cleaning up computer code

Tips for ChatGPT prompts

  1. Be specific: Provide clear and specific prompts that are focused on a particular topic or question. This will help ChatGPT generate more relevant and accurate responses.
  2. Use natural language: Use natural language when interacting with ChatGPT, just as you would when talking to another person. This will help the model understand your intentions and generate more human-like responses.
  3. Provide context: Give ChatGPT enough context to understand the prompt and generate a meaningful response. This might include providing background information, clarifying terms, or describing the problem or issue you are trying to solve.
  4. Avoid complex phrasing: Try to avoid complex or convoluted phrasing when interacting with ChatGPT. Stick to clear, simple language that is easy for the model to understand.
  5. Ask follow-up questions: If ChatGPT’s response is not quite what you were looking for, try asking a follow-up question or providing more context to help the model generate a better response.
  6. Be patient: While ChatGPT is designed to generate responses quickly, it may sometimes take a few seconds to generate a response. Be patient and give the model time to process your prompt and generate a meaningful response.

What are the downsides of ChatGPT?

When you first see what ChatGPT is capable of, it can be really impressive. It’s a little bit like a genie that can carry out your every whim at a moment’s notice. 

ChatGPT asked to write a marketing poem

But of course, as with every apparent miracle invention, it’s important not to get carried away without thinking through all the implications of its use. Right now we are still at the really early stages of applying this new technology, and there are many practical, moral and legal issues that remain to be ironed out.

Here are some of the things that we at Wagada Digital have been thinking about, after trying it out both in the office and at home.

Are ChatGPT prompts public?

Privacy is something that everyone needs to keep in mind when interacting with any chatbot. While it’s unlikely that you’re going to be personally identified or linked to the text that you type in, remember that every interaction with ChatGPT is used for training purposes. That might have implications for what you feel comfortable asking – for example, if your company is involved in a legal dispute, it would be common sense not to disclose any identifying details when using ChatGPT. 

Everyone’s talking about it but I can never get on! 

ChatGPT is phenomenally popular right now, with its user base growing every day. So it’s not surprising that at times it struggles with capacity issues. One tip is to try to use it at less popular times – if you’re in the UK, you might have more success in the mornings before the USA wakes up. Or alternatively, you could sign up to ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month.

ChatGPT Plus

What is ChatGPT’s carbon footprint?

This is one of those issues that isn’t immediately obvious, but training and maintaining a powerful AI like ChatGPT consumes a vast amount of energy. Some have likened the carbon levels that AI will be responsible for emitting as the technology is adopted en masse as on a par with the aviation industry. 

That’s something that shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet, and it’s of serious concern as AI becomes an increasingly integral part of our everyday lives.

Are chatbot conversations private?

As an AI language model, ChatGPT is programmed to maintain the privacy and security of any conversations that take place. However, it ultimately depends on the platform or application that you are using to interact with it.

If you are using a reputable platform or application that takes privacy and security seriously, then your conversations should be private and secure. For example, many messaging apps and websites use encryption to protect your conversations and prevent unauthorised access.

However, it is important to note that there may be exceptions to this, such as if you choose to share personal or sensitive information with me or if the platform itself is compromised by a cyberattack. In general, it is always a good idea to be cautious about what information you share with anyone online, including ChatGPT.

Is there anything that ChatGPT cannot do?

As an AI language model, there are certain limitations to what ChatGPT can do. Whilst it’s capable of performing a wide range of tasks, such as answering questions, generating text, and completing tasks, there are some areas where its abilities may be limited. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Emotional intelligence: While ChatGPT can understand and generate text about emotions, it does not have emotions itself, and therefore cannot fully understand or empathise with human emotions.
  • Common sense reasoning: While ChatGPT can answer questions based on the information provided to it, it may not always have the same level of common sense reasoning as a human, which can sometimes result in unexpected or inaccurate responses.
  • Personalised advice: While ChatGPT can provide information and guidance based on general knowledge and trends, it is not capable of providing personalised advice based on an individual’s specific circumstances or needs.

Despite these limitations, the chatbot is constantly improving and learning with the release of GPT-4, the latest AI language model in OpenAI’s line of language models, being a key reminder of this. The advancement to multimodal AI technology now means that whilst the technology can still only respond via text, ChatGPT-4 can parse both text and image input.

Will ChatGPT replace Google?

With Microsoft acquiring ChatGPT for use with Bing, these are interesting times for Google, which is racing to keep up. It’s still early days in this new war of the search engines, but one thing is for sure, the way that we use and interact with search engines is set to change dramatically with the introduction of new AI technologies like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. Watch this space!

We’ll be happy to talk to you about any questions you may have, or help you with requests for AI-based marketing on a case-by-case basis. Call us on 01727 260 187, email info@wagada.co.uk or fill in our contact form to get in touch today.