North America What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's...

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here’s everything you need to know


Updated: This AI chatbot’s advanced conversational capabilities have created quite the buzz. Here’s what you need to know

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with a chatbot. The language model can answer questions, and assist you with tasks such as composing emails, essays, and code. Usage is currently open to public free of charge because ChatGPT is in its research and feedback-collection phase. As of Feb. 1, there is also a paid subscription version called ChatGPT Plus.

Also: The best AI art generators: DALL-E 2 and other fun alternatives to try

Who made ChatGPT?

ChatGPT was created by OpenAI, an AI and research company. The company launched ChatGPT on Nov. 30, 2022.

Also: ChatGPT is ‘not particularly innovative,’ and ‘nothing revolutionary’, says Meta’s chief AI scientist

OpenAI is also responsible for creating DALLE•2, a popular AI art generator, and Whisper, an automatic speech recognition system.

How big a deal is ChatGPT?

It’s certainly made a big splash. “ChatGPT is scary good. We are not far from dangerously strong AI,” said Elon Musk, who was one of the founders of OpenAI before leaving. Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief, said on Twitter that ChatGPT had more than 1 million users in its first five days after launching. Altman told Musk the average cost of each response was in “single-digits cents” but admitted it will need to monetize it eventually because of its “eye-watering” compute costs.

According to analysis by Swiss bank UBS, ChatGPT is the fastest growing app of all time. In January, only two months after its launch, UBS analysis estimates that ChatGPT had 100 million active users. For comparison, it took nine months for TikTok to reach 100 million.

For full story read: ChatGPT just became the fastest-growing ‘app’ of all time

How can you access ChatGPT?

You can access ChatGPT simply by visiting and creating an OpenAI account.

Once you sign in, you are able to start chatting away with ChatGPT. Get your conversation started by asking a question. Because ChatGPT is still in its research stage, it is free to use and you can ask as many questions as you’d like. For step-by-step instructions, check out ZDNET’s guide about how to start using ChatGPT.

I tried using ChatGPT and it says it’s at capacity, what does that mean?

ChatGPT is free to use at the moment because it is still in its research phase. Because of the stir its advanced capabilities have made, a lot of people are flocking to use it. The website operates using a server, and when too many people hop onto the server, it overloads and can’t process your request. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to access it. It just means you should try visiting the site at a later time when fewer people are trying to access it. You can also keep the tab open and just refresh it periodically.

If you want to skip the wait and have reliable access, there is an option for you. As of Feb. 1, OpenAI has a ChatGPT pro plan, ChatGPT Plus, which allows users to have general access even during peak times, experience faster response times and have priority access to new features and improvements. The premium services does come at a cost of $20/month.

How are people using ChatGPT?

The model has many functions in addition to answering simple questions, such as composing essays, describing art in great detail, creating AI art prompts, and having philosophical conversations, and it can even code for you.

Also: People are already trying to get ChatGPT to write malware

My personal favorite is asking the chatbot for help coming up with creative holiday gift ideas for specific family members. The possibilities are endless.

How does ChatGPT work?

OpenAI trained the language model by using Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), according to OpenAI. Human AI trainers provided the model with conversations in which they played both parts, the user and AI assistants.

What is the difference between ChatGPT and a search engine?

ChatGPT is a language model created with the purpose of holding a conversation with the end user. A search engine indexes web pages on the internet to help the user find the information they asked for. ChatGPT does not have the ability to search the internet for information.

Also: Google steps up work on ChatGPT rivals

It uses the information it learned from training data to generate a response, which leaves room for error.

What are ChatGPT’s limitations?

Despite looking very impressive, ChatGPT still has limitations. Such limitations include the inability to answer questions that are worded a specific way, as it requires rewording to understand the input question. A bigger limitation is a lack of quality in the responses it delivers — which can sometimes be plausible-sounding but make no practical sense or can be excessively verbose.

Instead of asking for clarification on ambiguous questions, the model just takes a guess at what your question means, which can lead to unintended responses to questions. Already this has led developer question-and-answer site StackOverflow to at least temporarily ban ChatGPT-generated responses to questions.

Also: OpenAI’s ChatGPT is scary good at my job, but it can’t replace me (yet)

“The primary problem is that while the answers that ChatGPT produces have a high rate of being incorrect, they typically look like they might be good and the answers are very easy to produce,” says Stack Overflow moderators in a post. Critics argue that these tools are just very good at putting words into an order that makes sense from a statistical point of view, but they cannot understand the meaning or know whether the statements it makes are correct.

Another major limitation is that ChatGPT’s data is limited to 2021. The chatbot does not have an awareness of events or news that have occurred since then. Therefore, some prompts you ask it will render no results such as “Who won the World Cup in 2022?”

Can I chat with ChatGPT?

Although some people are using ChatGPT for some really elaborate functions such as writing code or even malware, you can use ChatGPT for more mundane activities like having a friendly conversation.

Also: I spent an hour with a new, ChatGPT-inspired AI chatbot, and I may die laughing

Some conversation starters could be as simple as, “I am hungry, what food should I get?” or as elaborate as, “What do you think happens in the afterlife?” Either way, ChatGPT is sure to have an answer for you.

Why are some people worried about ChatGPT?

People are expressing concerns about AI chatbots replacing or atrophying human intelligence. For example, the chatbot can write an article on any topic efficiently (though not necessarily accurately) within seconds, potentially eliminating the need for a human writer. The chatbot can also write an entire full essay within seconds, making it easier for students to cheat or avoid learning how to write properly. This has led to some school districts blocking access to it.

More: ChatGPT is changing everything. But it still has its limits 

Another concern with the AI chatbot is the possible spread of misinformation. Since the bot is not connected to the internet, it could make mistakes in what information it shares.

The bot itself says, “My responses are not intended to be taken as fact, and I always encourage people to verify any information they receive from me or any other source.” OpenAI itself also notes that ChatGPT sometimes writes “plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”

Does a tool that recognizes ChatGPT text exist?

With concerns of students using ChatGPT to cheat, the need for a ChatGPT text detector is becoming more evident. OpenAI, the AI research company behind ChatGPT, released an imperfect, free tool to target this problem. OpenAI’s “classifier” tool can only correctly identifies 26% of AI-written text with a “likely AI-written” designation. Furthermore, it provides false positives 9% of the time, incorrectly identifying human written work as AI written.

Also: ChatGPT maker OpenAI has a free tool that can spot AI-written text

Other AI detectors also exist on the market including GPT-2 Output Detector, Writer AI Content Detector, and Content at Scale AI Content Detection. However, ZDNET put all three of these tools to the test and the results were underwhelming. All three of the a tools were found to be unreliable sources for spotting AI, repeatedly giving false negatives. Here are ZDNET’s full test results.

Is ChatGPT a good or bad thing?

ChatGPT is an advanced chatbot that has the potential to make people’s lives easier and to assist with everyday tedious tasks, such as writing an email or having to navigate the web for answers. However, there are certain technical details that have to be figured out before it’s widely used, to prevent negative outcomes such as the spread of misinformation. In general, AI and ML models rely on lots of training and fine-tuning to reach a level of ideal performance.

Also: ChatGPT’s next big challenge: Helping Microsoft to challenge Google search

Does it mean that AI is taking over the world? Not yet, perhaps, but OpenAI’s Altman certainly thinks that human-style intelligence in AI is now not that far off. Responding to Musk’s comment about dangerously strong AI, Altman tweeted: “i agree on being close to dangerously strong AI in the sense of an AI that poses e.g. a huge cybersecurity risk. and i think we could get to real AGI in the next decade, so we have to take the risk of that extremely seriously too.”

He also noted: “interesting watching people start to debate whether powerful AI systems should behave in the way users want or their creators intend. the question of whose values we align these systems to will be one of the most important debates society ever has.”

Are there alternatives to ChatGPT worth considering?

Although ChatGPT is the chatbot getting all the buzz right now, there are plenty of other options that are just as good and might even be better suited for your needs. Despite ChatGPT’s extensive abilities, there are some major downsides to the AI chatbot, including that it’s free version is often at capacity. If you want to give the world of AI chatbots and writers a try, there are plenty of other options to consider, including YouChatJasper, and Chatsonic.

Also: The best AI writers: ChatGPT and alternatives to try

Is ChatGPT smart enough to pass an MBA exam?

Simply put, yes. A professor at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania’s business school, used ChatGPT to take an MBA exam and the results were quite impressive.

Also: ChatGPT took an MBA exam. Here’s how it did

ChatGPT not only passed the exam, but also scored a whopping B to  B-. The professor, Christian Terwiesch, was impressed at its basic operations management, process analysis questions, and explanations.

What is Microsoft’s involvement with ChatGPT?

Microsoft has been an early investor in OpenAI, the AI research company behind ChatGPT, even before ChatGPT was released to the public. Microsoft’s first involvement with OpenAI was in 2019, when Microsoft invested $1 billion, and then $2 billion in the years after. In January, Microsoft extended its partnership with OpenAI through a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment.

Neither company disclosed the investment value, but sources revealed it will total $10 billion over multiple years, according to Bloomberg. In return, Microsoft’s Azure service will be OpenAI’s exclusive cloud computing provider, powering all OpenAI workloads across research, products, and API services.

Microsoft has also used its partnership with OpenAI to revamp its own Bing search engine and improve its browser. On Feb. 7, Microsoft unveiled a new Bing search engine which runs on a next-generation OpenAI large language model customized specifically for search.

More: ‘More powerful than ChatGPT’: Microsoft unveils new AI-improved Bing and Edge browser 

What is Google Bard and how does it relate to ChatGPT?

Bard is Google’s AI chat service, a rival to ChatGPT. On Feb. 6, Google introduced its experimental AI chat service, which will be tested by a select number of users before rolling out to the general public in the following weeks.

Also: ChatGPT has a new rival, Google Bard

Bard will be using Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) and will draw on all the information from the web to provide responses — a stark contrast from ChatGPT, which does not have internet access.

Google’s chat service has had a rough launch, with a demo of Bard delivering inaccurate information about the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Google told ZDNET reporter Stephanie Condon, “This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program,” in a statement.

Will ChatGPT become a paid service anytime soon?

As of Feb.1, ChatGPT offers a paid subscription model called ChatGPT Plus. With the chatbots skyrocketing popularity, it was only a matter of time before OpenAI rolled out a paid subscription model.

The pro plan gives users general access even during peak times when the free version is at capacity, which lately, has been pretty often. Users will also experience faster response times and have priority access to new features and improvements. The premium services does come at a cost of $20/month.

Also: OpenAI launches ChatGPT Plus, a new subscription service

The launch of a paid version had been rumored for some time before the official release. In January, OpenAI announced on its Discord server that it was considering to start charging for ChatGPT with a version called ChatGPT Professional.

OpenAI uploaded a waitlist for access to the pro service on Discord. The waitlist outlined that the new service would provide users with service that is always available (no blackout windows), fast responses from ChatGPT, and unlimited messages. While the cost for this service has not been announced, one of the survey questions on the waitlist form asks what price per month the user would consider paying for ChatGPT Pro.

An early access user, shared a video on Twitter running a test prompt on the pro version that ran much quicker than the free version the rest of the public has access to. In the video, Khawaja showed his subscription cost, was $42/month. Now we know the actual cost OpenAI set for this plan is a little more than half less of the early access user’s cost.

Sabrina Ortiz
+ posts

Latest news

DeSantis joins Republican presidential race, challenging Trump from the right

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis formally announced his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination Wednesday evening in an audio-only...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you