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what is chatgpt

What is ChatGPT and what does it do? Since its release on 30 November 2022 by OpenAI, this innovative platform has literally been changing the world for tech enthusiasts, developers, educators, content creators, business professionals and more. In fact, it gained 100 million users by January 2023. For anyone unfamiliar with ChatGPT and what it’s all about, this article aims to answer your questions and give you an introduction to this highly popular tool.

Exactly what is ChatGPT?

It is a chatbot powered by generative AI technology and operates as a natural language processor. OpenAI designed the chatbot to be able to have human-like conversations with users. It can assist you with various tasks such as writing articles and essays. ChatGPT answers questions, can compose song lyrics and poetry and can even write code for computer programs. With a simple and easy-to-use interface, this tool is incredibly powerful in what it can do.

Who is OpenAI?

Founded in the USA in December 2015, OpenAI is a tech company that specialises in artificial intelligence research, development and deployment. The company’s mission is to ensure that artificial intelligence benefits all of humanity. ChatGPT is just one of their AI products. OpenAI is also responsible for bringing DALL-E and Whisper to the market. DALL-E is a very popular art generator while Whisper is an automatic speech recognition system.

How to access ChatGPT

The easiest way to discover more about ChatGPT is to play around with the tool. If you want to access the chatbot, you can do so by creating an account on chat.openai.com. You can open an account using an email address and password, or you can sign up with your Google account or Microsoft account. Just click “Sign Up” and follow the prompts to enter your information.

Creating an account is very quick and easy and once you’re done, you’ll have instant access to ChatGPT 3.5. You might start off by asking the chatbot a simple question, or even ask it to write a love poem that you can print out and give to your significant other.

You can ask the chatbot anything you like. Your questions, queries and instructions are prompts. It’s fun to use and you’ll be astonished just how quickly it responds and writes stuff.

The ChatGPT interface

The interface is very basic, which makes it super simple to use. On the sidebar on the left, you’ll see an option for “New Chat”. This starts a new conversation with the chatbot. What’s even better is that the platform saves all of your chats. In the sidebar, you just need to click on the chat you want to look at or continue and all the information will be there.

You’ll also see your name at the bottom of the sidebar. This is where you can access your account information and even customise ChatGPT.

Is ChatGPT free?

ChatGPT version 3.5 is completely free to use as much as you like. Don’t think it’s not powerful because there’s no charge. You’ll realise the power of the tool once you start asking it questions and get it to write stuff for you.

There is also a paid version

You may find that version 3.5 of ChatGPT is more than enough to service your needs, but for an even more powerful chatbot tool, you can pay to upgrade to version 4. This subscription costs USD $20 per month. ChatGPT 4 is faster and even smarter than version 3.5. With your subscription, you also gain access to DALL-E, the AI art generator, and some other perks.

The chatbot is very lifelike

When you have conversations with ChatGPT, it’s easy to forget you’re even talking to a bot because the replies are often so lifelike. OpenAI has been able to accomplish this by training the chatbot using vast amounts of information gleaned from the internet, information written by real people. It optimises dialogue by using Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF). In other words, human demonstrations and preferences guide the model towards a desired behaviour.

Can you trust ChatGPT’s responses?

For the most part, the answer is yes. The chatbot is quite accurate. However, it does sometimes get things wrong. If you’re using it to write something important, you’ll want to fact-check its answers and responses through your own research. ChatGPT 3.5 can’t access the internet and all information in its brain is only dated up to 2021. Anything more recent it doesn’t yet know.

ChatGPT 4 (the paid subscription) is a little more advanced, as it now has access to the internet and up-to-date information thanks to Microsoft’s “Browse the Bing” feature. With no information cutoff, users of ChatGPT 4 have access to more recent and detailed information than those using the free version.

One thing that occasionally happens with ChatGPT is what people dub as the chatbot “hallucinating.” When it hallucinates, this means that it doesn’t know the answer to a prompt and simply makes something up instead. Sometimes this is due to the chatbot not comprehending the question or the user’s intent. It doesn’t ask for clarification on a question. It just churns out what it believes you’re asking for.

If you don’t like a response it gives, beneath its answer there is a “Regenerate” option, plus a “Thumbs Down”. Clicking the Thumbs Down tells the bot you weren’t satisfied. This helps it learn. If it doesn’t give you the response you were looking for, try writing a different prompt with more detail and more requests. With practice, your prompts will get better and you’ll be more satisfied with ChatGPT’s responses.

According to OpenAI’s Content Policy and Terms, you own all the content that the chatbot creates on your behalf, so you’re free to use it however you wish.

Using AI generated content

You have to be a little careful when using AI generated content as there can be issues with plagiarism and duplicate content. Plagiarism could result in copyright issues and publishing duplicate content on the web will affect SEO and search engine rankings for that content. It’s also important to fact check everything ChatGPT writes to confirm the information is accurate.

The chatbot is best used for creating outlines and generating ideas. You should always edit its output and add some of your own content to the final draft to ensure it’s original.

Your conversations may be used for training

OpenAI is transparent and admits that it may use your conversations with the chatbot for training and fine tuning it. However, you can opt out through the “Privacy Portal” and selecting “do not train on my content”.

ChatGPT is available as an app

As so many people enjoy using platforms like ChatGPT while on the go, OpenAI released apps for both IOS and Android. Now you’re no longer limited to being stuck in front of your computer when you use the chatbot.

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