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What is Chat GPT: understanding this new tool and how you might want to use it

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Erin L

Erin L

If you’ve been reading any news over the past few months, you probably noticed some new buzzwords like metaverse and Web3. Even if you don’t know these terms, they represent how far digital technology has penetrated our everyday lives. Of course you’ve also heard of AI or artificial intelligence and this is  the buzzword that will define this decade along with future years to come. AI is the foundation for a new tool that’s created more headlines and yet another buzzword, and it’ll probably be added to the Scrabble dictionary any day now: Meet ChatGPT! But what is Chat GPT, what does it do, how does it work and do you really need to pay attention to it, let alone consider trying it, which you totally can. I’ll tackle those questions in this post.

What is ChatGPT?

I would describe ChatGPT as a highly advanced chatbot capable of breaking down data or questions you feed it, in order to craft a reply. The “GPT” part of ChatGPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer”.  It uses numerous algorithms to parse, process the information, and cleverly come up with relevant responses presented in a way an actual human being would answer.

You access Chat GPT online on the OpenAI website. You need to sign up for an account but the good news is it’s free. Type in a question or make a request and Chat GPT responds naturally, and intelligently.

But to answer the question of what is Chat GPT, why don’t I ask ChatGPT? Typing in the query you can see Chat GPT describes itself as a ‘language model created by the folks at OpenAI’.

What makes ChatGPT a bit different from other Q&A bots is the underlying architectures it relies on to collect data from all over the Internet, combined with machine learning for mimicking actual human speech more realistically when it provides its response.

What is ChatGPT used for?

How you want to use ChatGPT is entirely up to you. Ask it anything and the bot will respond to the best of its abilities at the time. People around the world using ChatGPT  since it was made accessible to the internet in late 2022.

Interestingly, users are also contributing to the bot’s future use cases as it uses the data and questions we feed it as fuel to get even smarter, under OpenAI’s supervision.

In terms of what it’s used for, at its simplest it’s a clever and more eloquent version of Google. At it’s most complicated, it’s Shakespeare, writing cover letters, essays or reports. It’s also been used to explain and break down complex topics, to provide answers and very detached relationship advice, to write poems and songs, to rewrite blogs and content, write code and even give you mock job interview questions.

How to use ChatGPT?

You can try out ChatGPT as soon as you create a free OpenAI account. Just head to the website https://chat.openai.com and click the “Sign up” button. If you have a Google or Microsoft account, you may use the corresponding sign up buttons to link your OpenAI account with your Google or Microsoft credentials. From there, just enter your name and your mobile number for verification and you can begin. If you decided not to link your account, you can sign up with any email address as long as you have your mobile number too. You also need to set a secure password too as the service saves any questions you asked the bot previously unless you decide to delete them.

Once you logged into your ChatGPT account, you can start a conversation thread with ChatGPT via the “New Chat” button and enter the question you wish to ask in the lone text box. Not satisfied with the answer, or it seems a bit off? You may also use the “regenerate response” button below the most recent response to give ChatGPT the opportunity to answer again. If someone asks you to repeat an answer to the same question, chances are likely you might word the answer differently or give more or less information. ChatGPT behaves similarly and you can even compare the new answer with the old one by hovering your mouse cursor over the response and clicking the small revealing arrow. This is proof that ChatGPT doesn’t just put “canned responses” when relevant but carefully constructs the response based on a multitude of conditions.

ChatGPT resembles a conversation window of a modern messaging app so you are free to follow up with more questions or steer towards something completely off topic and watch ChatGPT ride on with it.

While it is easy to get excited and carried away with ChatGPT especially seeing how smart and witty the bot can get, you should avoid giving it sensitive details or using it for spreading misinformation. Like real people, ChatGPT can also make mistakes so avoid making critical decisions based on ChatGPT’s responses, or using it to submit a report to your boss, for example.

Is ChatGPT free?

At the time of writing, OpenAI’s ChatGPT is free to use with some caveats. Obviously a free and popular information tool needs tons of bandwidth to run and its huge surge in popularity means that the bot can’t always give immediate responses during heavy traffic periods. That’s why OpenAI offers an optional and paid ChatGPT Plus subscription for $20 a month. ChatGPT Plus users get higher processing priority resulting in speedier responses along with first dibs to any new features the bot may launch. Just remember that ChatGPT is an evolving service so prices and tier benefits may change in the future.

Who owns ChatGPT?

OpenAI owns the intellectual property of the ChatGPT language model. The San Francisco-based company employs hundreds of researchers and engineers in hopes of breaking new grounds in artificial intelligence. The reason why you see ChatGPT in other big products like Bing is because Microsoft partnered with OpenAI back in July 2019. Expect more companies to integrate ChatGPT and similar AI systems as they improve.

And it’s worth noting that in the weeks since OpenAI launched Chat GPT, other big tech companies are already rolling out the clones… Google launched Bard, Microsoft has Bing Chatbot, and there’s Jasper and actually several more.

What are the concerns with Chat GPT?

It sounds like Chat GPT is nothing but free help, so why does it seem like there’s so much concern about it? Probably because there’s just as much potential for misuse. Students could use chat GPT to write their essays instead of doing it themselves, which would essentially be cheating. Journalists and writers could create more content without the work.

When Chat GPT is formulating answers, it’s pulling information off the web, and we know sometimes what’s online isn’t factual, so there’s the potential for major mistakes if you reply on AI. There’s also been stories of the bot providing creepy, racist or sexist responses to queries for advice. Like I said earlier, it’s a bot, not a professor – it’s pulling information from online, not using its critical brain, so it’s bound to have some kinks and missteps.

But like most new technology that’s rolled out to the masses, we like to play with it, then try to break it, but it will be built and rebuilt better. AI is here to stay.

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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