By: Madeline Butler ’24
ChatGPT, a chatbot released by OpenAI on Nov. 30, 2022, gained a lot of attention online soon after its release. It was designed to carry conversations with people through various types of prompts, including text generation, language translation, text summarization and sentiment analysis.
When prompted to write a fantasy story about a tree, the chatbot generated a seven-paragraph story about a tree defending a forest from evil creatures, and even ended the story with “The End.”
Given the sentence, “Chile es un país de Sudamérica y comparte frontera con Perú, Argentina y Bolivia,” and instructions on what to do with it, ChatGPT correctly translated the sentence to its English translation, “Chile is a country in South America and shares borders with Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia.”
When asked to summarize the United States Constitution, the chatbot answered with seven short paragraphs discussing the three main components: the preamble, seven articles, and 27 amendments.
When prompted to describe the tone of the show “Stranger Things,” ChatGPT described it as “nostalgic and eerie.” It also added that there were elements of mystery, adventure and humor.
Some of ChatGPT’s other features include answering follow-up questions, challenging incorrect premises, rejecting inappropriate queries and even admitting when it makes a mistake.
ChatGPT trained with 570GB of data to achieve its current capabilities, making it one of the largest language models in existance. Its ability to answer prompts in an almost conversational way marks a new phase of language processing.
According to CNBC, “It’s part of the larger trend. Tech investors are pouring billions of dollars in startups specializing in the field of generative AI, which refers to the ability of computers to automatically create text, videos, photos and other media using cutting-edge machine learning technologies.”
Like most technology, ChatGPT has its limitations. Its abilities are limited by the quality and diversity of the data it was trained on, and it can also exhibit bias in its responses for this same reason. ChatGPT also has limited understanding because it does not have the ability to reason like a human and to have a deep understanding of the world.
Even with ChatGPT’s limitations, people still enjoy experimenting with the chatbot. Ursuline students have also been trying out ChatGPT.
Emma Morales ’24 said, “I asked it to write a short story about Ariana Grande’s ponytail and a fantasy story about Bartleby the Scrivener. I was surprised about how well both turned out.”
ChatGPT has provided some lighthearted fun for many, but educators around the country are concerned about its use in school for essays. This is one reason why New York City school officials started blocking the chatbot from being used in the school district.
According to APNews, “The decision by the largest U.S. school district to restrict the ChatGPT website on school devices and networks could have ripple effects on other schools, and teachers scrambling to figure out how to prevent cheating.”
OpenAI said in a statement that it plans to look into ways to combat cheating by working with educators to understand how people are experimenting with ChatGPT.
“We don’t want ChatGPT to be used for misleading purposes in schools or anywhere else, so we’re already developing mitigations to help anyone identify text generated by that system,” the company said.
Even with the issues surrounding ChatGPT’s uses, it is still a good example of how AI is developing very quickly. The advancements in AI that ChatGPT’s existence points to might seem a little unsettling, but do not worry, this news article was not the one the chatbot generated about itself.