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  • Writer's pictureVivienne Boucherat


Technology moves on and we are becoming ever more reliant upon it – and definitely more entangled with it especially as Artificial Intelligence (AI) evolves.

Of course, we are already accustomed to a certain amount of AI in our daily lives - it runs behind the scenes for various applications on our phones and our computers, it is present in Alexa and in self-driving cars and so on but it seems we will soon be getting comfortable with a new AI application in the way that we search for information.

The research and development company, OpenAI, has created (and is continually updating) a system called ChatGPT which ‘converses’ with us in a more natural way than we are accustomed to. GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. It has learnt from many thousands of diverse datasets from the internet - it can translate languages and generate text chats based on your prompts and questions. It can feel as if you are communicating with an intelligent human being.

I asked it to explain itself briefly (It understood its name even though I got the letters in the wrong order but I don’t think it understood the ‘less than 30 words’ bit!)

It hasn’t got to a stage where it researches new data, or has opinions or thoughts of its’ own, but that doesn’t feel too far off! One thing to be borne in mind is that it is not trained to fact-check and that should be a caveat for us all! The fact that the responses sound informed and convincing does not necessarily equal accuracy or truth!

It could be doing your homework or writing this blog! Helpful or harmful? Both?

Last month the world was informed that Microsoft was going to integrate ChatGPT into its search engine, Bing. The hope is to revolutionise the way we consumers use and interact with search engines thus making Bing a serious competitor to Google’s search engine, which currently dominates this part of the digital marketplace.

Though still in the beta testing phase – Microsoft intends to unleash ChatGPT on the world soon. I have read articles that have reported that the GPT chatbot has, at times, sounded defensive, angry and even frightened. It all feels rather unpredictable and perhaps open to manipulation? Though we are assured that these ‘bots’ and developments are not sentient, the wider ethical and philosophical questions will inevitably get debated as yet more science fiction becomes science fact.

I signed up to the site at the end of last year and had a few ‘conversations’ with ChatGPT but since Microsoft’s announcement the site appears to be often at full capacity and keeps crashing, this may just be a blip but it will be interesting to see how well it can serve the population in practice.

You can try it yourself at:

So, another genie and another bottle. Oh, what it is to be human!

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