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ChatGPT – What it is and Why You Should Care

By John Walubengo

Over the last three weeks, the tech industry has been consumed by the latest artificial intelligence kid on the block, ChatGPT. But what exactly is it? What can it do or not do? And why should we care?

We needed to ask someone to answer these questions, and we wondered who would be better placed than ChatGPT herself. 

After all, if this new AI model is as revolutionary as most claim it is, it probably knows a bit about itself and could take on these questions.

Here is what she had to say about herself.

GPT-3 (also known as “ChatGPT”) is a state-of-the-art language processing model developed by OpenAI. It is one of the largest and most powerful language models available and can perform a wide range of language tasks, including translation, summarization, question answering, and language generation.

Better than Google Search

These are comprehensive and meaningful explanations for AI professionals but quite meaningless for those not in the profession. In layperson’s terms, ChatGPT is the next-generation Google search.

Unlike your traditional Google search that spits out an extensive list of answers or options upon your search query based on existing website content, this ChatGPT can create a more comprehensive and concise answer to your question based on some predictive language model.

Put another way; this ChatGPT creates new content as a predictive answer to your question based on a statistical analysis of the large text database. In contrast, Google Search lists old answers for your other selection and processing.

Additionally, ChatGPT can understand context, language type, tone, mood, ethics, and other humane nuances found in regular human conversations. This means she can give you a different flavour of the answer to your question depending on the ‘how’ you originally framed it.

Use cases.

This means one can engage this new AI tool in a human conversation as if it were another human being. It can provide convincing answers from various domains, including science, politics, arts, economics, religion, and media.

One interesting capability ChatGPT had was the ability to write computer code. She also speaks several computer languages beyond the many natural languages like English, French, and Swahili, among others.

So, one could ask her to produce a software program that can complete a given simple task, and she would spit out the code in the shortest time possible in any computer language one prefers.

One could also ask her to draft a poem about love, a newspaper article about Kenyan politics, a business or marketing plan for a small supermarket operation, or even a church sermon about Christmas.

She will produce incredibly interesting output that would require little or no time to clean up into a final professional copy. Essentially this is where the power of this new AI tool lies – the ability to help professionals in whichever sector to simplify their work.

Controversies

As with all new digital tools, ChatGPT has caused some controversies and leading the pack is the academic circles where plagiarism is considered a capital crime. Some academics see the tool as aiding students to cut and paste and present answers to assignments without putting in the required academic effort.

Some regions have gone ahead and banned the tool from school networks, arguing that it would discourage rather than promote academic effort from students. Others have observed that some of the answers given by the tool are not perfect and, in some cases, outright wrong, cautioning enthusiasts to be cautious and not treat the answers as the gospel truth.

Either way, it is indeed a new dawn within the AI sector, and I encourage you to take a dive, sign up on ChatGPT, ask it any fancy questions and make up your mind.

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John Walubengo is an ICT Lecturer and Consultant. @jwalu.

 

 

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