Explained: What is generative artificial intelligence, the technology behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT?

Generative artificial intelligence has become the buzzword of the year, grabbing the public’s attention and sparking a rush from Microsoft and Alphabet to unveil technology products they say will change the nature of work.

Here’s everything you need to know about the technology.

What is generative artificial intelligence?

like other forms of artificial intelligence, generative AI learns how to act from past data. It creates entirely new content — text, images, even computer code — based on training, rather than simply classifying or recognizing data like other AIs.

The most famous generative AI applications are Chat GPTa chatbot Microsoft-support open artificial intelligence Released late last year. The AI ​​that powers it is known as a large language model because it takes textual cues and writes human-like responses from them.

GPT-4A newer model, announced this week by OpenAI, is “multimodal,” in that it can perceive images as well as text. The OpenAI president demonstrated Tuesday how to take a photo of a hand-drawn model of a website he wants to build and generate a realistic model from it.

What are the benefits?

Demos aside, businesses are already using generative AI.

The technique helps in creating the first draft of marketing copy, for example, although it may need cleaning up because it’s not perfect. One example comes from CarMax, which uses a version of OpenAI technology to summarize thousands of customer reviews and help shoppers decide what used car to buy.

Generative AI can likewise take notes during virtual meetings. It can draft and personalize emails and create slideshow presentations.microsoft and letterof Google Each showed off the features in this week’s product announcements.

What’s wrong with this?

Nothing, despite concerns that the technology could be misused.

School systems worry that students will turn in papers drafted by AI, undermining the effort they need to learn. Cybersecurity researchers have also expressed concern that generative AI could allow bad actors, even governments, to create more disinformation than before.

At the same time, technology itself is prone to errors. The AI’s confident touting of factual inaccuracies, dubbed “hallucinations,” and seemingly erratic responses, like showing affection to users, are reasons the company aims to test the technology before it’s widely used.

Is this just about Google and Microsoft?

The two companies are at the forefront of research and investment in large-scale language models, as well as in applying generative artificial intelligence to widely used software such as e-mail and Microsoft Word. But they are not alone.

Big companies like Salesforce and smaller ones like Adept AI Labs are creating their own competing AIs or packaging other companies’ technology to empower users through software.

How is Elon Musk involved?

He is one of the co-founders of OpenAI with Sam Altman. But the billionaire left the startup’s board in 2018 to avoid a conflict of interest between OpenAI’s work and OpenAI’s ongoing AI research. tesla – The electric car maker he leads.

Musk has expressed concern about the future of artificial intelligence and has campaigned with regulators to ensure the technology is developed in the public interest.

“It’s a pretty dangerous technology. I worry that I may have done something to speed it up,” he said at the end of Tesla Inc.’s investor day earlier this month.

“Tesla has done a good job with artificial intelligence, I don’t know, this makes me nervous, don’t know what else to say.”

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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