It’s pretty much impossible to miss the media chatter going on about ChatGPT – the generative AI tool that’s taking the Internet by storm.
A potentially generation-defining step along the way towards AI gaining sentience, generative AI apps like ChatGPT could feasibly revolutionise the way we use the Internet. That means the way we create online content of all kinds – writing, images and video – to the way we experience using search engines.
But what exactly is ChatGPT and is it something investors should be getting in on right now?
Breaking down generative AI
Generative artificial intelligence (AI) can be thought of as the next level in automated technology. Rather than using pre-existing data for analysis, generate AI creates brand new content all by itself. This content can be in the form of images and text, programming code, artwork or even poetry and prose.
According to the Harvard Business Review, generative AI software uses: “complex machine-learning models” to display the next word or phrase based on a cumulative sequence of words. So, ChatGPT, for example, can write all kinds of content that is pretty much indistinguishable from that created by human beings.
And of course, it’s ChatGPT that has thrust this technology into the public consciousness since it launched in January 2023.
What’s special about ChatGPT?
Launched by OpenAI, a company based in San Fransisco that was started by Elon Musk in 2015, ChatGPT immediately garnered attention all around the world. According to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, more than a million regular users exist already.
But how does it differ from the chatbots we’ve become accustomed to seeing everywhere on the Internet for the last few years?
According to The Times, ChatGPT produces “stunningly lifelike” content and utilises a “lifelike conversational language system”. The platform is designed to take conversations much further than before. ChatGPT can work out where it’s made mistakes, rectify them, ask questions, argue back against incorrect premises and totally reject what it considers to be inappropriate requests.
This is obviously several steps ahead of anything we’ve seen in common usage before. The Times goes one further and names ChatGPT as “the world’s first truly useful chatbot.”
By using natural language generation technology, the app gives the impression for users that they are chatting with an entity in a similar way to chatting to a customer or colleague directly.
What does ChatGPT tell us about the potential for generative AI?
We’re already seeing how generative AI has the capacity to totally change the way we use the Internet. According to VentureBeat, global investment in AI leapt up to $93.5 billion in 2021 from $12.75 million in 2015. The market is further expected to reach global investment levels of $422.37 billion over the next five years.
It’s clear then that the potential is there for generational AI, and in particular image generating AI, to totally change the game for creative industries. It could impact everything from advertising and marketing to movie making and video games.
Outside of the creative sectors, many see plenty of potential for generative AI to make important steps forward elsewhere. For example, it could be used within medical research to speed up the development of new drugs and treatments, or for pandemic response management.
How much can this technology really change the world?
It’s possible that this technology will change the very way we interact with the Internet with some predicting the ‘death of Google’. The idea behind this prediction is that generative AI platforms could simply replace search engines given their sophistication in presenting coherent and factual responses without the user having to wade through loads of hits and associated advertising.
If this is indeed the case, it’s difficult to see why people would continue to use search engines. According to experts quoted in TechCrunch, the idea has been around for a while regarding some kind of replacement for search engines and ChatGPT offers the first real-world example of how this could actually work.
Will generative AI kill creativity?
Along with all of this excitable media coverage over what this technology could do, there are plenty of voices expressing concern over its ethical and moral implications.
For example, what does it mean for the spread of fake news and propaganda, the dissemination of deep fake videos that have been created by AI and the impact on the people depicted within them, and, of course, for the creative industries in general.
Will apps like ChatGPT effectively replace content creators, copywriters, artists, designers and even journalists? These questions potentially hamper the expansion and penetration of this technology.
What about legal ramifications?
In 2022, the big news was about AI generated art, which led to an outcry from creatives all around the world who feel their livelihoods are threatened. This was further exacerbated when Adobe announced in December 2022 that it will include AI generated stock images for sale.
Following this, Axios warned that generative AI could feasibly threaten not only people’s jobs, but also open the floodgates to legal challenges over the material used by the technology to generate new content.
However, there are plenty of industry leaders that do not think that this technology will replace human creativity. In my opinion, this is a reactionary and scare-mongering response to the phenomenal technological advances that we are now able to use on a day-to-day basis.
As a keen and active investor in emerging technologies and with a strong interest in AI generated art as an investment category, I fully support the implantation of new technology into the workplace.
I believe that now is the time for investors to get involved and for business leaders to make it their mission to understand what generative AI can be used for. It’s about getting in at this early stage and incorporating AI to make it work for you.
AI will be a standard future tool for trouble shooting and for creativity and now is the time to get involved.