Unless you’ve been completely off the grid for the past few months I think it’s safe to assume you’ve at least seen some headlines about the AI chat bot revolution.
OpenAI (ChatGPT), Microsoft (
SydneyBing), and Google (Bard) have all released prototype or beta versions of products that many believe are an early precursor to artificial general intelligence (AGI).
If any of those words conjure thoughts of fully sentient robots with complex personalities, that’s where this is presumably headed (however far off it may be).
The reality for today is a truly impressive technological feat, but it’s nowhere near the humanoid characters from our favorite works of science fiction.
When presented with that empty text box, some people know exactly what to ask for. I had no such agenda, so I stared at the screen for a moment, and then this was the first thing that came to mind.
The common denominator between all three of these products is that you can “chat” with them. You enter text into a box as if you were using an app to text a friend. The queries and other commands you submit to the chat bots are called “prompts”, which inputs can range from simple internet searches to requests to compose professional sounding emails and other documents. 1
I’ve seen some pretty clever prompt engineering for ChatGPT and Bing. When presented with that empty text box, some people know exactly what to ask for2. I had no such agenda, so I stared at the screen for a moment, and then this was the first thing that came to mind.
I have no regrets. ☕️
There are still very serious questions to be asked about how the AI bots, the data they were trained on, copyright infringement, and more. But we must also cautiously acknowledge the progress that is being made. Computers can tell poop jokes now! 💩
If you are curious to learn more about how these AI chat bots actually work, the absolute best primer on the subject is “What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?” by Stephan Wolfram, the creator of Wolfram|Alpha among other things. ↩︎
In some cases I suspect a life long past time of exploring the pages of comic books and sci-fi novels has prepared many people for the first time they “meet” an artificial intelligence. I guess I was a different kind of nerd. 😅 ↩︎