“ChatGPT, the cutting-edge language model developed by OpenAI, has become a worldwide phenomenon. The technology, which uses advanced machine learning algorithms to generate human-like text, has taken the world by storm and has been adopted by individuals and businesses alike.”
If you think this is a human comment on the hottest new digital trend, think again. In fact, it was written by ChatGPT about itself, under the command: “Write a piece of news on ChatGPT being popular around the world …”
After its release two months ago, ChatGPT went viral, with more than 100 million users around the world. The new digital tool is the hot topic of the day. Some people are curious about it; others express concern that they will be replaced by artificial intelligence in the workplace sooner than they expected.
ChatGPT can write a news story faster than a person can.
What can ChatGPT do for us?
ChatGPT is a robot capable of conversing with users. It can also write essays, answer questions and generate codes. It can operate in at least 95 languages.
In 2020, California-based OpenAI released GPT-3, a type of artificial intelligence known as a “large language” model that creates text by trawling through billions of words of training data and learning how words and phrases relate to each other. ChatGPT was developed based on an advanced version of GPT-3, optimized to engage in dialogue with users.
“The biggest difference between ChatGPT and previous chatting robots was that it can think from your questions, and it can analyze your questions and the logic behind them to decide on its replies,” said Lu Lei, secretary general of Shanghai Information Service Association. “It feels like communication with real people rather than with AI.”
People have used ChatGPT to do homework and write work mail.
Yuan Wenyi, a marketing specialist, said that she tried to work with ChatGPT one morning, and her nervousness about it turned to joy when she found her efficiency improved dramatically.
“I received some material from colleagues and asked ChatGPT to write a summary about it,” she said. “That was accomplished in just seconds. Then I asked it to write an email to a client, and it did a better, much faster job than I could do.”
There are also recreational uses for the new tool.
Fang Tian, a mechanical designer, said her hobby is writing love stories, but her busy work schedule doesn’t leave her enough time to develop her ideas into practical text. So she turned to ChatGPT.
“I typed in an idea I had and asked it to write a short segment of story,” she said. “The result, to be honest, was not very satisfying. It was awfully clichéd.”
ChatGPT may be the fastest growing app of all time, according to a report issued by Swiss-based financial services and investment bank UBS.
Has ChatGPT become a tool of cheating?
Probably no one uses ChatGPT more than students do.
A survey of 1,000 U.S. students 18 years and older by online course provider Study.com found that 89 percent said they had used ChatGPT for homework. Some 48 percent confessed they had used it to complete at-home tests, and more than half said they used it to write essays.
In Russia, a college student named Alexander Zhadan provoked controversy by using ChatGPT to write his graduation thesis, but he was allowed to keep his diploma anyway.
The developers of ChatGPT weren’t aiming for artificial intelligence to become a tool for cheating, but professors fear its implications for traditional education. At the very least, it may kill assignments for homework essays.
Dan Gillmor, a journalism scholar at Arizona State University in U.S. told “The Guardian” newspaper that he fed ChatGPT a homework question that he often uses in student tests. The result: an answer worthy of a good grade.
While some universities in the US have banned ChatGPT in classes, others note that students have long been able to outsource essay writing to human third parties through applications such as Essay Mills.
“It doesn’t necessarily add much functionality that wasn’t already available to students who knew where to look,” Thomas Lancaster, a computer scientist and academic-integrity researcher at Imperial College London, told “Nature.”
Are certain professions threatened by ChatGPT?
While students pride themselves on having a new tool that makes their homework easier, workers in some industries are beginning to worry that they will be replaced by software in the near future.
Among the professions at risk are media, programming, education and legal services.
Thomas Wang, an online instructor who teaches the use of spreadsheet software Excel, said that ChatGPT would probably be a better teacher than he ever was.
“I asked it how to do data fractionation in Excel, and it gave me a step-by-step instruction – even with an example,” he said. “I feel that I’m not needed anymore.”
Zhai Zhiyong, a law professor with Beihang University, said that artificial intelligence like ChatGPT will be able to do a lot of work now undertaken by lawyers and judges, such as reading through voluminous cases for precedent references.
“That would free up time for legal workers but also present them a challenge,” Zhai said. “In the future, lawyers and judges will have to be more competent because their major job will be dealing with the harder cases that artificial intelligence cannot easily resolve.”
What future do we face as artificial intelligence becomes more intelligent?
Like it or not, ChatGPT and its successors are here to stay.
China technology giant Baidu has announced that it has developed a similar application called ERNIE Bot, which will be released next month. The bot might be implanted in its search engine Baidu.com.
Shanghai Information Service’s Lu said that it’s up to developers and users to decide if it is safe to use such AI applications because there are no relevant laws or regulations.
“Ethical controls behind ChatGPT would avoid some of the questions,” he said. “This actually presents a new challenge to the entire human society, but I’m afraid that it’s a double-edged sword and we must think how to use it to make our society better rather than worse.”
As for the question will ChatGPT cause millions of people to lose their jobs, let’s ask the source.
Here is ChatGPT’s answer in Chinese, translated into English:
“As an AI model, I don’t have self-awareness or emotions. My mission is to help people and to provide valuable information and solutions to improve productivity. The development of technology will always kill some jobs, but at the same time, new jobs will be created. People could be more competent in a new job market through education and training. Generally speaking, AI will improve productivity and life quality, but we need to deal with possible challenges with an active and responsible attitude.”