Since ChatGPT's public debut in November 2022, I have spent hundreds of hours chatting with it, feeding it bits and pieces of contextual gibberish, and asking it weird questions.
“Create a Kafkaesque story about my city”
“Write a Taylor Swift song from a William Wordsworth poem”
“Write a poem in Pablo Neruda’s style on Argentina’s Soccer World Cup win”
I am not the only one. ChatGPT has dominated the global app market, quickly becoming the fastest-growing consumer application in the world.
With its latest GPT-4 iteration, ChatGPT can now process images, summarize a screenshotted text, generate texts that are more ‘creative’, and provide ‘advanced reasoning’.
ChatGPT’s insane rise to stardom has bolstered research and development in AI.
Naturally, this has given rise to a plethora of competition.
Claude, a chatbot from San Francisco-based AI startup Anthropic, has recently created a lot of buzz.
With major investors like Google, and a laundry list of clientele including Quora, DuckDuckGo, and Notion, Claude aims to provide an AI tool that is “easier to converse with,” and is “less likely to produce harmful results”.
But, you may ask - how does all this work? How is a chatbot able to write a novel from a few text prompts? To understand their power, we need to take a peek under the hood.
What is a Large Language Model, or LLM?
Chatbots like ChatGPT and Claude work on niche artificial intelligence models.
These are commonly known as Large Language Models or LLMs.
They get fed vast amounts of publicly-accessible textual data from the internet.
Training on large data sets enables these tools to generate responses that are human-like to natural language inputs.
Digesting, analyzing, and utilizing this vast corpus of data with the help of Deep Learning. It is a machine-learning mechanism that mimics the human brain.
Deep Learning, using multi-layered neural networks, can continuously develop its underlying algorithms as it chugs through petabytes of data.
These algorithms, in turn, produce coherent, high-quality responses.
Why should you care about LLMs?
“Hey Google, who was the fifth president of the USA?”
“James Monroe,” your smart speaker responds within a millisecond.
But what if it said, Andrew Jones, or James Quincy Adams? You may not care when conversational AI tools get used for recreational purposes. But when they get integrated into our learning and work ecosystems, you should pause and take note.
As ChatGPT, Bard, and Claude seep into our daily lives, we, the end users, are at the forefront of the results they generate.
More schools, colleges, and universities are now exploring the idea of adapting AI chatbots as learning companions for their students.