If you’ve spent much time anywhere online in the last month or so, then you’ve almost certainly heard lots and lots of talk about ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is an AI-based program created by OpenAI, a chatbot specializing in supplying long-form answers to various questions and prompts.
Its sheer proficiency at this has everyone talking about how it will take multiple industries by storm in the very near future, including journalism, programming, and content production.
But how true is this, and what is ChatGPT really all about? Here’s a closer look at what digital marketers and content managers everywhere should know.
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What Is ChatGPT?
In a nutshell, ChatGPT is a highly advanced chatbot developed by OpenAI, the same company responsible for the popular AI image generator DALL-E.
It is based on the autoregressive language model GPT-3, is considered a large language model bot, and has a fantastic ability to deliver surprisingly human responses to various queries.
Like other large language model programs, ChatGPT is highly proficient at predicting the next logical word in long series of words.
Like other similar programs, it was trained on vast amounts of human-produced data available online, including examples like Reddit threads, the better to help it sound human and respond in a natural way.
And it’s getting even more innovative and efficient all the time, thanks to human feedback it receives regarding its responses.
This is an AI-training technique called Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF).
What Can ChatGPT Do?
If you haven’t used ChatGPT yet yourself to any extent, you might be wondering what it can actually do. Is it good enough at mimicking another human being to truly write like one? How good is it at delivering accurate information, and what is ChatGPT suitable for?
Here’s a brief rundown of some of what it can do so far.
It can answer questions
If you think ChatGPT sounds like a potential sub-in for Google, you’re on the right track.
In fact, Bing is already preparing to launch search improvements that leverage ChatGPT as a search tool in the near future.
Users can ask ChatGPT to answer basic questions and deliver information similarly to how they would do in Google Search.
ChatGPT can also take things one step further and help clarify complex topics in layman’s terms that are easier to understand.
However, it’s important to note that the information ChatGPT returns aren’t always 100 percent accurate, so it should be used for this purpose with great care and caution at this point.
It can write stories, poetry, and music
Some users are also exploring ChatGPT as a creative writing aid to the tune of interesting results. The bot is capable of fleshing out quick stories on any topic, synopses for larger works, script treatments, poems, and even song lyrics.
It can even mimic the style of existing authors, poets, or songwriters with varying accuracy.
However, while the results can definitely be helpful to creatives in helping them flesh out their own ideas, there are still significant issues with shallowness, repetitiveness, and language that doesn’t always flow naturally.
It can produce nonfiction content
Of course, ChatGPT can also be used to create original nonfiction content on just about any subject you can think of.
This is even the case for complicated topics, which has led people to its use in the creation of web content, essays, journalistic content, and similar material.
However, as with using programs like ChatGPT to search for information that needs to be correct and accurate, it’s essential to take the time to verify any information the bot delivers before you use it.
Remember, ChatGPT can very frequently return information that’s inaccurate or incomplete.
It can do math and write code
So what is ChatGPT good at besides writing? Well, to begin with, it’s capable of doing math, writing code, and spotting problems with existing code.
It’s capable of breaking down complicated algebra problems in a user-friendly, step-by-step way that anyone can understand.
ChatGPT can also write or explain various types of code, as well as help you spot bugs in existing code if you’re stumped.
In fact, the bot is exceptionally proficient in areas like these, which can make it a real time-saver for people who work with code, math, and similar disciplines.
Is ChatGPT Free?
Currently, ChatGPT is still in its research preview period, as OpenAI wants people to use it and provide valuable feedback needed to improve the program further.
It is currently free to use for that reason, and OpenAI has even held feedback contests complete with prizes to further encourage people to try it.
However, it’s doubtful that the program will remain completely free in the future.
OpenAI will need to monetize it eventually, and there are multiple ways this could happen.
For example, OpenAI already has a waitlist available for those interested in a paid version of ChatGPT with enhanced capabilities.
The Impact of ChatGPT on Marketing
Spend much time in any online conversation where people are discussing ChatGPT, and you’ll soon find out that not everyone is necessarily singing its praises.
Because of how advanced it’s already become, it’s already revolutionizing a multitude of different industries, digital marketing included.
Whether or not this is really a good thing remains to be seen. Some marketers are already leveraging ChatGPT to help them with tasks like content generation and market research.
Here’s a closer look at the current and potential future impact of ChatGPT on marketing.
As detailed above, Bing is already working on giving Google a real run for its money by coming up with its own ChatGPT-based version of the standard search model.
And some excited ChatGPT enthusiasts are already using the standalone version of the bot at least occasionally as a substitute for Google and other search engines.
Google itself was even concerned enough about these developments to issue a ChatGPT code red, so it’s only natural to wonder what’s next for Google and the future of traditional search engines in general.
Right now, Google is the ultimate authority when it comes to online visibility, and the entire concept of search engine optimization is all about getting the search engine king to see your website as an authority in your niche of choice.
The introduction of ChatGPT will almost certainly result in significant changes to how people search, how Google works, and what it takes to get ahead of the game (and stay there) when it comes to digital marketing.
Content Production Shifts
ChatGPT and similar programs are already changing how many people approach content production.
In some cases, major publishers are already publishing entire pieces of content written entirely by AI. (CNET is just one example that’s been in the news for its use of AI lately.)
Since ChatGPT and similar AI programs still have so many limitations, this raises concerns about content quality.
Many are also concerned that more companies will stop hiring writers, journalists, content managers, and other professionals in favor of simply having a bot generate their content moving forward.
But there’s also been plenty of pushback regarding these developments. Many people don’t care to read shallow content written entirely by AI programs, so AI detection programs are also becoming a thing.
Customer Support Changes
Chatbots are one way AI has been part of the digital marketing game for a long while now, and this will likely become even more the case as the bots become smarter.
At present, most customer service chatbots need to lead customers down a pre-specified path in order to provide accurate, helpful resolutions to various problems.
However, ChatGPT’s ability to converse intuitively with another human being will likely really elevate chatbots as potential customer service assets.
Workflow and Idea Generation Shifts
As ChatGPT and similar programs continue to become smarter and more advanced, the marketing world will see them come into play more often as tools to be leveraged by living, breathing, creative humans.
Because, at the end of the day, a chatbot will never be able to accurately synthesize a human’s unique experiences or ability to feel (and encourage) genuine emotion in other humans.
What it can do is assist content creators, content managers, and digital marketers with tasks like generating ideas or pushing past creative roadblocks.
The Impact of ChatGPT on Education
As with digital marketing and content creation, education is also starting to feel the impact of ChatGPT on the industry.
And also, as with marketing, some of that impact poses major problems, while some of it might hold some promise for the future of education. Here are a few examples that have people talking.
Potential Decline in Motivation to Learn
Now that ChatGPT is exceptionally close to being a household name, educators and parents alike are concerned about its potential impact on a student’s motivation to learn in the first place.
How many young people won’t see the point of paying attention in class, furthering their education, or learning a skill if they can simply ask a chatbot to do it for them?
Similar concerns came up when inventions like calculators and even Wikipedia hit the scene in the past.
Experts knew those things would ultimately change how people teach, learn, and look for answers, and something similar will almost certainly happen because of ChatGPT.
Concerns About Cheating
In many schools and learning establishments, ChatGPT is already banned on school computers as a potential resource for students and, in some cases, educators, as well.
Its proficiency in everything from solving math problems to writing book reports to crafting essays has raised a genuine concern about cheating when it comes to tests, homework, term papers, and more.
Many educators are emphasizing the need for reliable AI detection methods as a result.
Although ChatGPT can produce decent essays and nonfiction content that sounds at least somewhat human, it’s still easily detectable as not written by an actual human being.
AI-written content still tends to be relatively thin, repetitive, and superficial compared to human-produced content.
And again, it cannot efficiently tap into the nuances of unique human experience, critical thinking, and genuinely-felt emotions.
Shifts in Education Methods
Of course, there are those who genuinely do see where technology like ChatGPT or similar could actually help educators be more effective at their jobs.
Like Google, it’s a solid potential resource for gathering or better understanding all sorts of information.
It also has solid value as an organizational tool.
For example, it could be helpful in drafting lesson plans, planning assignments, and generating good ideas for improving student engagement in the classroom.
Likewise, it could become a valuable resource capable of helping students overcome learning blocks, better understand complicated concepts, and become better at writing, problem-solving, and a variety of other things.
So what is ChatGPT, and is it a viable replacement for human content producers? The fact of the matter is, while AI-based programs like ChatGPT do have potential promise, their role moving forward is as tools designed to help human beings be better at what they already do.
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