When conversational AI ChatGPT was introduced as a free open language model in November 2022, it took the world by storm. From the outset, it was clear this model was leaps and bounds ahead of its sibling model, InstructGPT, in terms of its capability to provide detailed responses to all kinds of questions. 

In the official announcement, OpenAI shared examples of ChatGPT debugging code, reconsidering a request after receiving clarifying information, retaining contextual information from one question to the next, and refining content as it receives further instruction.

In the months since, professionals in all fields have been experimenting with ChatGPT and other creative AI applications to see just what they can do. And while the usage of these artificially intelligent assistants raises many ethical questions, businesses are already implementing them in a variety of ways.

So what is ChatGPT, exactly? In this post, we’ll explore its background, features, and creative ways people already use this technology to automate processes, save time and budget, and expand on human skill sets. 

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What is ChatGPT?

Well, we can ask it to describe itself:

“Hello! I am ChatGPT, a large language model developed by OpenAI. I am based on the GPT-3.5 architecture, which means that I have been trained on a vast corpus of text data and can generate human-like responses to a wide range of prompts and questions. My training data includes a diverse range of sources such as books, articles, websites, and more, which allows me to draw on a wide range of knowledge when responding to queries. I am designed to simulate human-like conversation and provide informative and engaging responses to help people find answers to their questions.”

To expand on that, ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI and first released in 2020. OpenAI has been developing increasingly sophisticated language models for several years, and ChatGPT is one of the latest and most advanced models to be released. It is based on the GPT-3.5 architecture and has been trained on a massive corpus of text data, allowing it to generate human-like responses to various prompts and questions.

As a neural network-based language model, ChatGPT uses a sophisticated mathematical model to understand and generate human language. This is based on a type of neural network called a transformer, which was introduced in a groundbreaking 2017 paper by researchers at Google.

The transformer architecture used by ChatGPT allows it to generate more coherent and natural-sounding text than previous language models, which relied on simpler techniques like Markov chains and n-grams. The transformer architecture also allows ChatGPT to understand the context of a sentence or paragraph, which makes it better able to generate appropriate responses to complex queries.

How can I use ChatGPT right now?

People are already using ChatGPT in many ways:

1. Answering questions: People can ask ChatGPT questions on a wide range of topics, and it can generate answers based on its vast knowledge base.

2. Content creation: ChatGPT can generate text on various topics, including articles, essays, stories, and more. This feature is particularly useful for content creators who need to generate high-quality content quickly.

3. Language translation: ChatGPT can also be used for language translation, as it can understand and translate text in different languages.

4. Personal assistance: Some people use ChatGPT as a personal assistant, to help them with tasks such as scheduling appointments, making reservations, and sending emails.

5. Writing and debugging code: More on that in the next section.

6. Ask for writing prompts: If you’re a writer looking for inspiration, ChatGPT can provide you with writing prompts based on different genres and themes.

7. Get creative ideas: Whether you’re an artist, musician, or designer, ChatGPT can help you develop creative ideas for your next project.

8. Play games: ChatGPT can play text-based games with you, such as trivia, word games, and choose-your-own-adventure stories.

9. Plan your day: ChatGPT can provide suggestions and ideas for activities, places to visit, or things to eat based on your preferences and location.

10. Learn new things: ChatGPT can answer questions and explain various topics, from science and history to technology and culture.

11. Practice language learning: ChatGPT can help you practice your language skills by engaging in conversations in different languages.

12. Plan your travel: ChatGPT can provide recommendations on places to visit, things to do, and restaurants to try in different destinations around the world. Remember, it’s not connected to the live web, and it’s not a search engine. You cannot rely on ChatGPT for up-to-date information about flights or hotels.

13. Engage in philosophical discussions: Bored? ChatGPT can discuss philosophical topics and help you explore different perspectives and ideas.

14. Practice mindfulness and meditation: ChatGPT can provide guided meditations and mindfulness exercises to help you relax and reduce stress.

15. Plan your finances: ChatGPT can provide general financial information and suggest strategies for saving money, investing, and managing your finances. Again, this is a good start but don’t rely on it for professional advice; you need a qualified human for that.

16. Improve your writing skills: ChatGPT can provide feedback on your writing, suggest edits, and help you improve your grammar and syntax.

17. Play music: ChatGPT can create and play music based on different genres and moods, and suggest songs based on your preferences.

18. Plan your fitness routine: ChatGPT can suggest workout routines, provide nutrition advice, and help you set fitness goals.

19. Get cooking and recipe suggestions: ChatGPT can suggest recipes based on your dietary preferences, cuisine preferences, and cooking skill level.

20. Get help with homework and assignments: ChatGPT can help you with homework and assignments by providing explanations, examples, and resources to help you better understand the material.

There are many different applications in business and marketing, as well. In upcoming articles, we’ll discuss these ChatGPT use cases and their ethical questions.

Should we use ChatGPT for coding? 

While ChatGPT has a lot of knowledge about different programming languages and syntax, it may not be able to generate syntactically correct code or follow best practices.

Debugging code requires a deep understanding of programming languages, algorithms, and data structures and the ability to interpret error messages and identify the root cause of issues. While ChatGPT has a vast knowledge base, it doesn’t have the same programming expertise as an experienced programmer or debugging tool; it doesn’t actually “know” how to code. Technically, what ChatGPT does is process natural language queries related to programming languages and generate responses based on its knowledge base.

Programming languages in ChatGPT’s knowledge base include (but are not limited to):

  1. Java
  2. Python
  3. JavaScript
  4. C++
  5. C#
  6. Ruby
  7. Perl
  8. PHP
  9. SQL
  10. Swift
  11. HTML
  12. CSS
  13. TypeScript
  14. Go
  15. Kotlin
  16. R
  17. MATLAB
  18. Scala
  19. Lua

ChatGPT can be a useful tool for beginners or those looking for ideas and suggestions to help with debugging. It may be able to provide helpful tips or point users in the right direction to resolve coding issues. Still, you can’t rely entirely on it – especially if you don’t have the coding experience to spot output issues.

OpenAI has released a separate tool called Codex, which is based on the same GPT-3 language model architecture as ChatGPT but has been specifically designed to generate code. Codex is a powerful tool that can generate code snippets in multiple programming languages, and it has been trained on a massive dataset of code repositories and programming documentation. Codex can automate repetitive coding tasks, provide code suggestions, and even generate complete programs.

What are the limitations of ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI language model, and as such, it generates responses based on patterns it has learned from the data it was trained on. While it can provide helpful and accurate responses, it may also generate incorrect or inappropriate responses and state them in a deceptively convincing way. Using your judgment and critical thinking is important when using ChatGPT, and if you’re using it to create content for a business, you must have an editorial process in place.

ChatGPT is not a replacement for human expertise or advice. While it can provide helpful insights and information, it should not be relied upon for making critical decisions or providing medical or legal advice. It can also amplify bias, so it’s important to check your output for that.

Remember, too, that its knowledge cutoff is in September 2021. ChatGPT isn’t a good tool for generating product reviews, doing keyword research, or researching current events.

Tips for getting started with ChatGPT

If you’re a new user of ChatGPT, here are some basic tips to help you get started:

1. Be clear and specific.

When asking questions or providing information to ChatGPT, be as clear and specific as possible. This will help ChatGPT better understand your request and provide more accurate and relevant responses.

2. Use simple language.

Try to use simple and concise language when communicating with ChatGPT. Avoid using technical jargon or complex terminology that may be difficult for ChatGPT to understand.

3. Provide feedback.

If you’re dissatisfied with ChatGPT’s response or have additional questions, provide feedback and ask follow-up questions. This helps ChatGPT better understand your needs and provide more accurate and relevant responses in the future.

4. Keep your expectations in check.

While ChatGPT is a powerful and versatile tool, it is not perfect and may not always provide the exact response or solution you are looking for. Keep your expectations realistic and be open to exploring different approaches or solutions to your question or problem.

5. Remember: ChatGPT is not a search engine.

This is one of the most important things to keep in mind. ChatGPT may state misinformation convincingly, but it’s not checking multiple current sources to verify facts. Editing and fact-checking are essential if you plan to publish or use any information learned from ChatGPT.