Someone on the Internet wrote that ChatGPT just made the first two years of high-school homework meaningless, and that’s not far off. OpenAI’s new AI text-generation tool currently offers sophisticated, lengthy and even fun responses to textual prompts, currently all for free.
ChatGPT is part Wikipedia, part researcher, part analyst, and part poet. It can write a short paper on the causes and outcomes of the French Revolution. It can write a seven-paragraph essay on why nihilism should be your personal philosophy. It can write an epic poem on the need to brush your teeth regularly. It can write a formal, yet sarcastic letter to your neighbor on why he shouldn’t trim your trees without permission It’s breathtaking. It’s also scary when you think about its potential to mimic human prose and poetry.
ChatGPT is currently in “free research preview,” which means that you can use the service for free. It does require you to sign up for OpenAI, which can be as simple as authenticating the service via your Gmail account. Once inside, you get a seemingly limitless numbers of text prompts to play with. But don’t expect this to last forever, because OpenAI typically licenses its models to third parties and then takes it own service offline.
What separates ChatGPT from other AI chatbot tools is the length and detail of its responses. GPT-3 is a language model built by OpenAI, and it’s been taught to understand the relationships between billions of words. (And in fact, ChatGPT uses GPT 3.5, a more sophisticated version.) Though not mainstream, GPT-3 text generators are now relatively common as tools to quickly dash off SEO-optimized marketing copy, construct basic blog posts, and so on. It’s similar to AI art, which uses natural-language text to generate unique images based upon material the algorithm has found on the Internet and in other sources.
Most text generators are basic, both in content and in length. ChatGPT is something else entirely. Using ChatGPT to write an essay on nihilism probably wouldn’t fool the instructor of a high-level college philosophy course. But it’s feasible that the ChatGPT essay could read like the work of a high school student. You be the judge: