ChatGPT, the AI-based language learning model developed by OpenAI, gained intense popularity virtually immediately following its launch on November 30, 2022. Within weeks, students were cheating on college essays, average citizens were generating sitcom episodes in Seinfeld genre and Ryan Reynolds even used it in January, and became the fastest-growing app in history – faster than Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
If you’ve been following the resulting media maelstrom, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. Our team has spent time testing the platform and knowledge sharing with our fellow agencies in the AVENIR Global network. We’ve also received some questions from clients, so we wanted to share our initial thoughts on its potential impact on the marketing and communications industry.
ChatGPT is a Large Language Model (LLM) that has been trained using billions of internet texts to answer a wide range of questions. This distinguishes ChatGPT from traditional chatbots, as it is able to provide more helpful answers due to its training on vast amounts of information.
Despite its impressive capabilities, it is important to note that ChatGPT does have a number of limitations:
- ChatGPT does not check for factual accuracy, and it will reflect biases from the internet documents that trained it. While it has processed billions of internet texts, it is unable to separate fact from fiction. It already is showing racist and discriminatory bias, an ongoing issue for AI models.
- It does not protect confidential or sensitive information. Once you’ve uploaded data into the platform, OpenAI (owner of ChatGPT) has the right to use your inputs to “maintain its services, develop and improve its services, comply with laws and enforce its policies” (Social Media Law Bulletin).
- It’s not a search engine. The majority of the data it scraped to develop responses is pre-2021. It has limited information after that timeframe. That said, the search/AI race is officially on, as the new Microsoft Bing release does integrate ChatGPT into its search functionality. You can join the waitlist for the chance to try it out. Google is racing to integrate similar technology.
- ChatGPT has limited math capabilities. It’s not a calculator – its strength is in analyzing words, not numbers. While an updated release on January 30 improved these capabilities, it still struggles with complex problems. So no, ChatGPT will not be doing your taxes this year.
In the end, it simply lacks deep intelligence. ChatGPT is not going to write a meaningful opinion piece or stylish prose. It’s also not going to be a strategic partner, either. Of course, there are many areas where it is already proving exceedingly useful:
- Its basic copywriting abilities can help with efficiencies. It can be very effective at writing SEO-driven content – e.g. listicles, stat round-ups, etc. ChatGPT can easily provide a first draft of social media posts, or even a basic announcement or press release. Those drafts then need to be reviewed and refined by a human being with judgment and critical thinking skills.
- It can help developers debug code. But, as outlined above, it lacks the creativity and problem-solving skills of a human developer or programmer.
- It can extract information and summaries from text. You can upload documents or papers to ChatGPT, and ask it to extract information using Python. The program can summarize the document, and even aggregate key findings to help with organizing and understanding large amounts of information. This could be extremely helpful when wading through immense amounts of desk research, but doesn’t replace a human being’s ability to distinguish between what’s relevant and what’s most prevalent.
As always, we’re continuing to test ChatGPT, as well as following the news. Please reach out if you have questions or would like to discuss more. We learn something new about ChatGPT every day.
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