The word on the tip of everyone’s tongue – or perhaps keyboard – is ChatGPT. Open AI’s chatbot has sparked widespread discussion and think pieces across the world about its implications and use cases. It feels like a big step forward for artificial intelligence, and suddenly questions are being raised about whose jobs are going to be extinct as it evolves.
What use is there for coders or media writers when ChatGPT can do the same job in a fraction of the time and cost? The question is, are these fears founded or are chatbots like ChatGPT going to fall short of them entirely? Let’s explore.
Technology & Hype
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding ChatGPT right now, and for many it’s the first AI program they’ve had the chance to play around with. With this novelty, however, there’s also a significant amount of theorising about what it might be capable of, without necessarily being grounded in the reality of what it is.
The Gartner hype cycle describes how the reception to new technologies evolves over time. It posits that upon the release of a technology, there’s a lot of wide eyed optimism about its applications that results in a peak of inflated expectations. After it’s realised that the technology can’t live up to these aspirations, reception drops to slough of disillusionment before recovering to a sustainable plateau of productivity, where its genuine use cases are understood.
ChatGPT has received recognition beyond its creators’ wildest expectations, particularly with users outside the AI and machine learning community, and has thus seen an enormous peak. In reality, it has numerous shortcomings that future iterations will find difficult to overcome – but what we’re really interested in is what it will continue to be used for throughout that plateau of productivity.
In 2022, prior to the release of the latest model of ChatGPT Google stated explicitly that they consider content created by AI to be spam. While they haven’t given a statement on version 4, if their position remains the same, then using it for search engine optimisation will result in your website slipping down the search rankings instead of up.
Since there’s no intent behind the words that ChatGPT returns to you, it will often “lie.” That is to say, it can’t differentiate between fact and fiction and so can give false responses. As a result, it can’t be used as a reliable alternative to search engines themselves. Likewise, it means it’s dangerous to copy/paste a ChatGPT response without proofreading and it can lead to incorrect information.
ChatGPT in particular is trained on data from up to 2021. This means it has no knowledge from events after that date, and cannot give unique insight into a topic you feed into it. While it can regurgitate what others have said, it will not provide new ideas. So, if you’re looking to give your audience a fresh perspective, ChatGPT won’t be able to help you.
Real Use Cases
ChatGPT is nonetheless a very helpful tool that will boost productivity and save you time. It can help you to brainstorm ideas, and give perspectives you hadn’t considered to jump off from. If you’re finding it difficult to condense a piece of content, then it can help to make cuts and shorten it while keeping the main point of the writing intact. If you’re writing a professional letter or invoice, then ChatGPT can also help you to get the right kind of language and tone. It’s here that the program really excels – helping to write text that is required to conform to firm, restrictive and historical standards.
Outside of this, ChatGPT also has applications for simple coding work, helping to rewrite code and even teach new languages. Once it gets more complex, the program can’t quite keep up, but for beginners it is ideal. Likewise, an adapted and purpose-built version of the same machine learning can be used for personalised website chatbots to give a better customer experience.
It’s impossible to tell what future iterations of the program will be capable of, and it’s exciting to see where the technology goes next. It’s certainly a game changer, but it’s not quite mature enough of a technology to be challenging entire industries of jobs – at least not yet. Either way, it’s clear that businesses that don’t adopt AI like ChatGPT to help boost productivity are going to be losing out.
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