ChatGPT: A Year That Changed the World of Technology
A little over a year ago, when OpenAI announced ChatGPT, few people imagined how profoundly the technology behind it would change the digital world. The development of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the past year has not only brought technological innovation, but has also redefined how we communicate, work, and learn in the digital space.
Source: DALL E 3.
Even at the end of 2021, the headlines about the world of technology were about the metaverse (a virtual reality connecting people like the internet today), the difficulties of developing humanoid robots, or the creation of a digital twin covering the entire Earth to model the effects of climate change more accurately than ever before. Of course, there were already signs of the rapid development of Large Language Models (LLMs) and Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) in general. By the end of 2021, early 2022, GAI technologies such as DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion were already relatively widely known, demonstrating the imaging capabilities of AI. In retrospect, these developments prepared the public for the adoption of GAI and raised awareness of its potential.
The real breakthrough came with the introduction of ChatGPT on 30 November 2022. The specific date marks the point in time when the service became available to the wider public. The solution itself was also extremely interesting when it appeared, as it was the first tool among the large language models that anyone could use. This is mainly because the model can act as a chatbot, i.e. instead of complicated queries, you just ask it questions and it can answer them in a human-like way, in text.
Various AI-based solutions have been with us for decades and are increasingly embedded in the services we use in our everyday lives. However, most of these systems have been operating under the hood, with no direct contact with the wider audience. This was because in these cases the service was not the AI itself. It was merely a tool, hiding behind a service to help meet the needs of users. One only must think of the long-established content recommendation systems, such as those used by streaming service providers. These systems have long used artificial intelligence to recommend the content of most interest to individual users.
The real breakthrough of ChatGPT was to make a language model itself and the information stored in it available to everyone. And it did it in an easy-to-use, intuitive way with a simple interface.
Of course, the impact of the GAI is far from over, but perhaps above all else, it was the development of OpenAI that contributed to the widespread awareness of the technology and the spread of its various industrial adaptations. The following is a brief overview of how the world of LLMs has changed everyday life, industry, and even art, for example.
GAI in Everyday Life
As mentioned above, since the launch of ChatGPT, AI has become accessible and directly useful to everyday users. People are using it to generate text, write emails, write programming code, and even as a personal therapist. These everyday applications show that AI is no longer just the prerogative of researchers and tech giants.
Although the issue of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) has been raised more and more often recently, it is important to note that even today’s most advanced tools are light years away from this level of sophistication. An example of this could be the assistants who help programmers (e.g. the GitHub Copilot service). These models help developers with real-time suggestions during the coding process (e.g. by “predicting” code fragments or by providing concrete implementation suggestions). However, they suffer from the Achilles’ heel of statistical modelling in the same way as any other generative tool; the most likely solution may not be the right solution. Generally speaking, most of these tools are more like highly advanced productivity tools than miracle weapons.
In the Business World
In the business world, ChatGPT and other generative AI models have opened new opportunities. They have also had a significant impact in the areas of automated customer service, market analysis, content generation, and decision support. In addition, with the introduction of GPT-4 and similar advanced models, companies are now able to perform even more complex tasks more effectively.
At the same time, it should be kept in mind that we are still talking about a very new technology from the point of view of wide industrial adaptation. That is why individual companies are often characterized by a kind of pathfinding regarding the specific usability of GAI.
Education and Learning
Generative AI has also had a significant impact in the field of education, with teachers and students alike using it to create learning materials, write summaries, and even overcome learning difficulties. However, it has also raised ethical and fraud issues, challenging educational institutions.
Even today there is an influential view for a complete ban on ChatGPT and other GAI tools, which focuses mainly on concerns about plagiarism. At the same time, however, the argument for the use of such tools is just as strong, based on the aforementioned productivity tool argument. For example, in the case of research projects, the time needed to find sources can be significantly reduced by using a tool that can search not only keywords on the Internet or in a proprietary database. In the case of articles, semantic search, which provides suggestions based more on the relationship between the search term and the content of the article, can be much more efficient, saving researchers considerable time.
Art and Creativity
In the world of art, generative AI has opened new dimensions. From music composition to digital paintings, AI has enabled artists to express themselves in new ways, although this new technology has also raised ethical and copyright issues.
A whole range of problems still lie ahead for GAI, from the copyright issues of synthetic data to the almost philosophical question of whether artificially produced works can be considered art in the traditional sense of the word, or whether they constitute a whole new branch of art.
Over the past year, the development of GAI has undoubtedly changed the way we look at technology and how we use it in our everyday lives. Reflecting on how this technology has changed the way we communicate, work, and create, on ChatGPT’s first anniversary, it is clear that AI is now deeply embedded in our everyday lives and this trend is only expected to continue to grow.
As the initial hype dies down, there is an opportunity to find ways of using GAI that are not so much based on overheated expectations but rather on reality. This will require the presence of professionals who understand the potential and risks of the technology in depth. At the same time, it will be equally important to have mediators who can present this information in a way that is understandable and interesting to the public.
István ÜVEGES is a researcher in Computer Linguistics at MONTANA Knowledge Management Ltd. and a researcher at the Centre for Social Sciences, Political and Legal Text Mining and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (poltextLAB). His main interests include practical applications of Automation, Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning), Legal Language (legalese) studies and the Plain Language Movement.