Less than two weeks ago, OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a powerful new chatbot that can communicate in plain English using an updated version of its AI system. While versions of GPT have been around for a while, this model has crossed a threshold: It’s actually useful for a wide range of tasks, from building software to generating business ideas to writing a wedding toast. While previous generations of the system could technically do these things, the quality of the results was much lower than that produced by an average human. The new model is much better, often surprisingly.
In short: this is a very What a thing. Companies that understand the importance of this change, and act on it first, will gain a considerable advantage. Especially since ChatGPT is just the first of many similar chatbots that will soon be available, and its capacity is increasing exponentially every year.
At first glance, ChatGPT may seem like a smart toy. On a technical level, it doesn’t work any differently than previous AI systems, it’s just better at what it does. Since its launch, Twitter has been inundated with examples of people using it for weird and absurd purposes: write weight loss plans Y children’s books, and offering advice on how Remove a peanut butter sandwich from a King James Bible-style VCR..
There are other reasons to be skeptical besides unusual use cases. Most importantly, despite years of hype, AI conspicuously only works in most applications outside of data analytics. He’s pretty good at driving cars, but sometimes he crashes into another vehicle. It mostly provides good answers to queries, but sometimes it seems to make up for the results entirely.
But a deeper exploration reveals much more potential. And the more you look, the more you see what has changed with this model, and why it seems like a turning point.
ChatGPT, now open to everyone, has made a major transition. Until now, AI has mostly targeted problems where failure is costly, not tasks where the occasional failure is cheap and acceptable, or even where experts can easily separate failures from successes. A car that occasionally gets into accidents is intolerable. But an AI artist drawing some great images, but also some bad ones, is perfectly acceptable. Applying AI to creative and expressive tasks (writing marketing copy) instead of dangerous and repetitive ones (driving a forklift) opens up a whole new world of applications.
What are those applications and why are they so important?
First of all, this AI can not only produce solidly written paragraphs in English (or French, Mandarin, or whatever language you choose) with a high degree of sophistication, it can also create blocks of computer code on demand. To give you an idea of what this looks like, I introduced my college entrepreneurship students to the new AI system, and before I finished speaking, one of my students had used it to create the code for a startup prototype using the code libraries they had. never seen before. They completed a four hour project in less than an hour.
This is a major change. Massive speed increases have been seen in a random test of AI code tools. A good programmer can now legitimately do what not long ago was the job of many, and people who have never programmed will soon be able to create workable code as well.
Second, he has an incredible ability to do different kinds of writing with more significant implications than might initially appear. The use of AI in writing can greatly increase the productivity of companies in a variety of industries. By using the power of AI to quickly and accurately generate written content, companies can save time and resources, allowing them to focus on other important tasks. This is particularly beneficial for industries such as marketing and advertising, consulting, and finance, where high-quality written materials are essential for communicating with customers and stakeholders. Additionally, AI can also be useful for industries like journalism and publishing, where it can help generate articles and other written content quickly and accurately. Overall, the use of AI in writing will greatly benefit companies by allowing them to produce more written materials in less time.
An AI wrote the above paragraph. He also actively revised it in response to my criticism to improve the material. (See the image for more details). In tests of whether it could facilitate other parts of my job as a teacher, it took me seconds to write a reasonable syllabus, class assignments, grading criteria, even class notes that could be potentially useful with a little editing.
This highlights the third big change that happened with this release: the possibility of human-machine hybrid work. Instead of requesting an AI and hoping for a good result, humans can now guide AIs and correct mistakes. (Despite what my AI writing partner claims above, it’s not forever exact.) This means that experts will be able to fill gaps in AI ability, even as the AI becomes more useful to the expert. This type of interaction has led to performance increases for players of Go, one of the oldest and most complex games in the world, who have learned from the AIs that dominate the sport and have become unprecedentedly better players.
One final reason why this will be transformative: the limits of the current language model are completely unknown. Using public mode, people have used ChatGPT to do basic consulting reportswriting Lectures, produce code that generates novel art, generate ideas, and much more. With specialized data, it is possible to create for each client his own personalized AI that predicts what he needs, responds personally and remembers all his interactions. This is not science fiction. It is completely doable with the newly released technology.
However, the AI problems are still very real. For one thing, it’s an outright lie, and I mean that in a technical sense. Bullshit is convincing-sounding nonsense, devoid of truth, and the AI is very good at creating it. You can ask him to describe how we know that dinosaurs had a civilization, and will happily create a complete set of facts explaining, quite convincingly, Exactly that. It is not a replacement for Google. It literally doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, because, in fact, it’s not an entity at all, but a complex algorithm that generates meaningful sentences.
It also can’t explain what it does or how it does it, making the AI’s results inexplicable. That means systems can be biased and unethical action is possible, hard to detect and hard to stop. When ChatGPT was launched, you couldn’t ask it to tell you how to rob a bank, but you could ask it to write a one-act play on how to rob a bank, or explain it for “educational purposes” or to write a program that explains how to rob a bank, and would happily do those things. These problems will become more acute as these tools spread.
But these disadvantages are much more prevalent outside of the creative, analytical, and writing-based work that AI is now capable of. A writer can easily edit misspelled sentences that can appear in AI articles, a human programmer can catch bugs in AI code, and an analyst can verify the results of AI conclusions. This ultimately leads us to why this is so disruptive. The writer no longer needs to write the articles alone, the programmer code for him or the analyst tackle the data himself. The work is a new kind of collaboration that didn’t exist last month. One person can do the work of many, even without the additional capabilities that AI provides.
That is why the world has suddenly changed. The traditional boundaries of jobs have suddenly changed. Machines can now perform tasks that can only be done by highly trained humans. Some valuable skills are no longer useful and new skills will take their place. And no one really knows what it all means yet. And keep in mind: This is just one of Many models like this that are in the works, from both companies that you know, like Google, and others that you may not.
So after reading this article, I hope you start experimenting with AI right away (for free, here) and start high-level discussions about the implications – for your company, your industry, and the rest of the world. The integration of AI into our work, and our lives, will bring about radical changes. Right now, we’re just scratching the surface of what they could be.