August 29, 2023
What is ChatGPT
ChatGPT is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software tool released by the company named OpenAI, based in San Francisco, USA. This tool can give answers in human language, to questions posed by users. It is a digital unmanned chatbot, as against manual chat agents who provide chat support to users of online sites. Within release of this software in November, 2022, it created a sensation in the world and millions of users signed up to use the software.
ChatGPT can be called an AI wonder which is the storehouse of unbelievably humongous amounts of knowledge across many fields / subjects. It can answer questions on history to medicine, engineering to fine arts, write poetry, stories and it can also think up and produce suggestions for business, party ideas, beauty tips et al.
ChatGPT is a free software (no subscription / fee). However, users have to pay for using ChatGPT Plus which is a higher and more powerful version of ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is a Generative AI tool, meaning it generates response to the prompts of the users. Questions of users and answers from the AI tool are called Prompts and Responses respectively in AI lingo.
ChatGPT is based on cloud computing. The users need not install any software program or app on their laptop/desktop. It is browser-based, i.e., user has to type the address https://chat.openai.com on the browser and ChatGPT window will open. The users can create ChatGPT account for themselves and login through their ChatGPT account credential or they can use Microsoft account or google or apple account to sign up to start using ChatGPT. While signing in for the first time, user has to specify login name and date of birth. User will also need to provide a phone number to which OpenAI will send a One-time-password code which has to be provided to ChatGPT sign-up screen. ChatGPT saves all your questions and its answers on its own servers, not on the local device.
By now, OpenAI has also released app version of ChatGPT for use on Android and iOS phones, thereby opening the doors of this tool to almost whole of the world.
Guidelines for asking questions to ChatGPT:
1. Give ChatGPT a context to the question, i.e., give the background information on why you are asking the question to ChatGPT and what is your expectation from it.
e.g., If you want to know something about Diabetes medicines, write the prompt as “You are a doctor and a Diabetologist. List the medicines for various types of Diabetes”. This will get better response than a curt question as “What are the various medicines for Diabetes?”. Even a digital tool expects humans to ask logical, clear-to-understand questions with background and the role ChatGPT has to assume to answer the question effectively.
2. Mention whether you require highly detailed or concise answer, by specifying the maximum number of sentences of answer, to ChatGPT. For example, you can say “Write biography of Mahatma Gandhi in 100 sentences. “
3. Instead of using question words such as what, when, why etc., use words such as “Explain”, “List out” etc.
4. From a broader question, you can drill down to more pointed questions. ChatGPT remembers your earlier conversations.
5. After the tool generates a response to your prompt, user can ask it to regenerate the response multiple times, so that user chooses the answer that came nearest to his expectations.
6. Ask the question as if you are dealing with a human being, courteous, sensible and to fulfill a specific need, and not to tease or test the tool.
7. Avoid asking mala fide questions or asking for forbidden information, since user questions are stored on AI server for a long period.
Uses of ChatGPT
1. Digital Information Assistant: As a digital assistant for all information needs. It is to be noted that ChatGPT is not a “know-all”. And it is not familiar with recent events or current news (after September 2021).
2. Content Writer: As a content writer for mail, announcements, speeches etc.
3. Translation needs: Users can provide content in one language and ask for translation to another language. However, it is not “Master of All Languages”. With a small sample test, it gave comparatively better result in translating from English to Kannada, than English to Tulu or English to Konkani.
4. Summarization: Condensing long articles or books into briefer versions, e.g., Give a gist of the book “Wealth of Nations” in less than 500 words.
5. Idea Generator: To get ideas for business, events or any campaigns, e.g., Think up solutions to the problem of urban pollution or suggest some event ideas to celebrate daughter’s birthday.
Abuse / misuse / risks of ChatGPT
1. Plagiarism: Might be used by students or academic community to generate essay, project reports, articles, write-ups, or research thesis without actually doing any real projects or practical work.
2. Copyright violations: If copyrighted information is part of the answer given by ChatGPT, it will attract legal actions for copyright violation. ChatGPT has already been sued for using copyrighted material in its responses. If a user uses this information, he might also be sued by the owners of the copyrighted material
3. Confidentiality leaks / Data Leakage/ Data Pillage: If confidential data is passed on by ChatGPT as part of its answer to users, the company behind ChatGPT will be sued. South Korean government has already sued OpenAI for data leak. Data Pillage by hackers or Data leakage can have costly repercussions.
4. Software Code Leakage: Many technology companies are using ChatGPT as a help in writing software programs, passing on their existing software code to ChatGPT in the process. This is a potential risk, due to the chances of hackers getting access to software code and embedded passwords or other logic used in the code, all at one place, i.e., the AI database itself. This might make the jobs of hackers, evil actors and intruders easier.
5. Nefarious / forbidden questions to ChatGPT: Criminals / anti-social elements might look to ChatGPT to gain access to potentially dangerous knowledge, e.g., bomb-making, creating false and hateful content etc. ChatGPT is trained to identify this type of prompts and to decline to answer the same. However, evil genius has already found techniques to cross the barriers and obtain dangerous information by misleading ChatGPT. These types of questions are called “Jail-break” prompts.
6. Hallucination: ChatGPT sometimes gives totally wrong information without batting an eyelid. I asked “Do you know anything about (gave my full legal name”? It said I am a famous footballer from Kerala who has already died. It gave many more details about that person without an iota of doubt. OpenAI is already facing law suit for giving defamatory and totally incorrect information about a person.
7. Inappropriate usage by minors: Minors might obtain inappropriate content from ChatGPT by pretending to be of majority age.
8. Job loss: Many jobs might become obsolete or go out of demand. For example, translators, content writers, professional thesis writers, professionals who provide academic assistance to students (solving exercises or doing assignments of students), manual chat agents, voice chat agents. Many companies are enhancing their digital unmanned chat service by incorporating the capabilities of ChatGPT into their proprietary chat services. As such, human voice call agents and chat agents might be things of the past. Many new jobs will be created to meet the demands of AI industry and to support AI tools. When mobiles replaced analog phones, jobs such as telephone operators, telephone booth attendants were lost, but the job loss was more than compensated by jobs in mobile industry, mobile servicing and mobile apps.
9. Diminution In Human Intelligence and Memory: Just like advent of calculators made a dent on average individual’s capacity to do manual / mental arithmetic, more and more reliance on AI will have diminishing effect on the common man’s logical thinking power, independent judgment and memory power of human beings, similar to phone numbers removed from memory and stored as contacts on phone.
Here is a poem generated by ChatGPT at my request to write a poem on Karnataka in 5 sentences:
In Karnataka's embrace, nature's splendor blooms,
From misty hills to golden coastlines gleam.
Majestic palaces grace Mysore's throne,
While Hampi's ruins whisper secrets unknown.
The Western Ghats, a sanctuary of green,
Udupi's flavors, a culinary parade.
Folk dances swirl in vibrant display,
Through temples and shrines of ancient grace.
Karnataka's people, diverse and strong,
In this land of myriad hues, unity and diversity fuse
Generative AI is a mixed blessing. Its march forward is inevitable. Soon the days of search engines flashing hundreds of search results in front of the perplexed user might be gone. The day is not far off when Generative AI will listen to human questions and give voice response to questions.