ChatGPT and generative AI: What is it all about?

ChatGPT and generative AI (artificial intelligence): a quick primer …

*Heaven, W.D. (2023). ChatGPT is everywhere. Here’s where it came from: OpenAI’s breakout hit was an overnight sensation—but it is built on decades of research. MIT Technology Review.

“We’ve reached peak ChatGPT. Released at the end of November [2022] as a web app by the San Francisco–based firm OpenAI, the chatbot exploded into the mainstream almost overnight. According to some estimates, it is the fastest-growing internet service ever, reaching 100 million users in January, just two months after launch. Through OpenAI’s $10 billion deal with Microsoft, the tech is now being built into Office software and the Bing search engine. Stung into action by its newly awakened onetime rival in the battle for search, Google is fast-tracking the rollout of its own chatbot, LaMDA.

But OpenAI’s breakout hit did not come out of nowhere. The chatbot is the most polished iteration to date in a line of large language models going back years. This is how we got here.”

*Baron, N.S. (2023). How ChatGPT robs students of motivation to write and think for themselves. The Conversation.

“When the company OpenAI launched its new artificial intelligence program, ChatGPT, in late 2022, educators began to worry. ChatGPT could generate text that seemed like a human wrote it. How could teachers detect whether students were using language generated by an AI chatbot to cheat on a writing assignment?

As a linguist who studies the effects of technology on how people read, write and think, I believe there are other, equally pressing concerns besides cheating. These include whether AI, more generally, threatens student writing skills, the value of writing as a process, and the importance of seeing writing as a vehicle for thinking.”

*May, J. (2023). ChatGPT is great – you’re just using it wrong. The Conversation.

“… And for a machine that is designed to produce strings of words that sound as good as possible in response to the words you give it – and not to provide you with information – that seems like the right use for the tool.”

Questions? Please let me know (engelk@grinnell.edu).

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