ChatGPT hit 100 million monthly users in January, according to a UBS report, making it the fastest growing consumer app in history. The business world is also taking an interest in ChatGPT, trying to find uses for writing AI across many different industries. This cheat sheet includes answers to the most common questions about ChatGPT and its competitors.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a free AI chatbot developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT is built on the structure of GPT-4. GPT stands for Generative Preformed Transformer; this indicates that it is a large language model that checks the probability of which words could come next in order. A large language model is a deep learning algorithm – a type of transformer model in which a neural network learns the context of any language model. It can be a spoken language or a computer programming language.
The model does not “know” what it is saying, but it does know which symbols (words) are likely to occur in sequence based on the data set it was trained on. The current generation of AI chatbots, such as ChatGPT, rival Google Bard and others, don’t really make intelligently informed decisions; instead, they are the parrots of the Internet, repeating words likely to come next to each other during natural speech. The underlying math is all about probabilities. The companies that make and use them tout them as productivity geniuses, creating text in seconds that would take hours or days to produce.
In the case of ChatGPT, this dataset represented a large portion of the Internet. From there, humans gave feedback on the AI output to confirm if the words used sounded natural.
SEE: Open AI probability assessments were trained on Microsoft’s Azure AI supercomputer.
Several organizations have also incorporated this ability to answer questions into some of their software features. Microsoft, which funds OpenAI, rolled out ChatGPT in Bing Search in preview. Salesforce has added ChatGPT to some of its CRM platforms in the form of the Einstein digital assistant.
Who created ChatGPT?
ChatGPT was built by OpenAI, a research lab with non-profit and for-profit branches. At the time of its founding in 2015, OpenAI received funding from Amazon Web Services, InfoSys and YC Research and investors such as Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. Musk has since severed ties with the company, while Microsoft is currently providing OpenAI with $10 billion in funding.
How much does ChatGPT cost?
The basic version of ChatGPT can start a conversation with you for free. OpenAI also runs ChatGPT Plus, a $20 per month tier that gives subscribers priority access to individual instances, faster response times, and the ability to use new features and improvements first. For example, right now ChatGPT Plus subscribers will be using GPT-4, while anyone on the free tier will be talking at GPT-3.5.
For developers and organizations that do not yet have a specific contract with OpenAI, there is a waiting list to access the ChatGPT API.
How to use ChatGPT
It’s easy to use the free version of ChatGPT. You have to create an account with OpenAI, which consists of retrieving a confirmation code from your email; from there, click on it and provide your name and phone number. OpenAI will warn you that the free version of ChatGPT is “free search preview”. For the Plus version, you will see an “upgrade to Plus” button on the left side of the homepage.
ChatGPT can answer questions (“What books are similar to [xyz]He can tell stories and jokes (although we’ll leave it up to others whether these are good stories or good jokes).
For businesses, ChatGPT can write and debug code, as well as create reports, presentations, emails, and websites. In general, ChatGPT can write the kind of prose you’d probably use for work (“Write an email accepting an invitation to speak at a cybersecurity conference”). Microsoft showed off these features in its announcement that OpenAI is coming to Word and other parts of the Business Suite 365.
Critiques of AI in natural language
So, with more and more organizations adopting AI, many questions arise. Will AI be able to fill the jobs currently held by humans? What can and can’t natural language chat AI do?
Perhaps inspired by science fiction about AI taking over Earth, some high-profile tech players urge caution before giving AI too much freedom. Last week, a petition signed by Elon Musk and many others urged companies to suspend the large-scale development of AI until more safeguards can be incorporated.
OpenAI warns that its products should not be used for decisions in global law enforcement or politics. Privacy, which is perhaps a more pressing concern than world domination, has led Italy will ban ChatGPT. OpenAI has since said it wants to find a way to let ChatGPT work within European Union’s strict privacy rules.
Other major concerns about ChatGPT come from those whose jobs might replace instead of improve. ChatGPT also raises questions about the ethics of using written content created by the algorithm. AI-created posts should be clearly marked as such, but what about more casual content such as emails? Business leaders should establish guidelines for when to be transparent about using ChatGPT or other AIs at work.
Who are the competitors of ChatGPT?
The main competitors of ChatGPT are or could be Google BardErnie from Baidu, Sparrow from DeepMind and Meta BlenderBot.
ChatGPT’s main competitor is Bard, Google’s natural language chatbot. People who want to try out Bard’s chat feature should join a waiting list.
Now Google plans to add Bard to search. Compared to ChatGPT, Bard focuses more on creating prose that sounds like a human could have pronounced it naturally and less on being able to answer any question. Bard is built on Google’s LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialog Applications.
While Microsoft currently leads the pack in providing chat features to productivity software, the company lags behind in terms of the search engine, Bing. Google takes the opposite position: its search engine is a household name, but the company had no AI rival ready to go. (Meanwhile, ChatGPT has helped Bing achieve 100 million daily users.)
Ernie from Baidu
Chinese search engine Baidu plans to add a chatbot called Ernie. Baidu announced the upcoming change on March 16, when the first screening disappointed investors.
OpenAI also competes with DeepMind, an artificial intelligence research lab owned by Alphabet. However, the two organizations are very different in their goals. DeepMind is more research-focused and has yet to release a public chatbot. DeepMind has Sparrow, a chatbot designed specifically to help AI communicate in a way that’s “useful, correct and harmless.” DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis said The Independent in January 2023 that DeepMind may release a private beta version of Sparrow later in 2023.
Meta released BlenderBot in August 2022. The BlenderBot prototype from the company behind Facebook focuses on chatting, providing short, conversational responses rather than full paragraphs.
What about Apple?
According The New York Times, Apple is working to leverage the technology it has, especially Siri, to create a ChatGPT rival. However, more information on what the final product might look like is slim at this time.
The future of AI in business
Will ChatGPT be common in online products in the future or is it an eternal technological innovation in search of a bigger use case? Today, its “smartness” is clearly still in its infancy, with OpenAI including disclaimers about inappropriate content or incorrect “hallucinations.” ChatGPT can put the words in a consistent order, but it won’t necessarily keep the facts straight.
Meanwhile, AI announcements that go viral can be good or bad news for investors. Microsoft stock price increased after the announcement of GPT-4, while Google shares fell when Bard misbehaved during a demonstration.