What is ChatGPT and How to Use It?

Ever since its launch in December 2022, ChatGPT has become a household name on the internet. It has 1.8 billion visitors per month and continues to scale new heights with each passing month. So what exactly is this ChatGPT phenomenon? To find all the answers, we have compiled a detailed explainer of what is ChatGPT, who developed it, what are its features, and more.

What Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a chatbot powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence), and it has been developed by a company called OpenAI. It is essentially a website where you can have a chat with an AI model. These AI models are also known as LLM (Large Language Model). As the name suggests, “chat” refers to the conversational functionality and GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, which is a type of LLM. We will come to GPT later in more detail.

What is ChatGPT?

At present, ChatGPT lets you chat with two AI models — GPT-3.5 and GPT-4. Both of these LLM models have been developed in-house by OpenAI,and they are not open-source. GPT-3.5 is free and available to everyone to use whereas GPT-4 is available only to paying users (those subscribed to ChatGPT Plus). Both models are highly conversational and understand the context as well, but GPT-4 is currently the most advanced and capable LLM in the world right now.

Talking about the models briefly, GPT-3.5 is trained on 175 billion parameters whereas GPT-4 is said to be trained on a massive 1 trillion parameters, which makes it incredibly capable. On the other hand, Google’s PaLM 2 AI is trained on ~540 billion parameters, making it one of the largest LLMs but still smaller than GPT-4. In addition, GPT-3.5 has a maximum context length of 4096 tokens, whereas GPT-4 can go all the way up to 32,768 tokens. Context length is basically how much information a model can process and produce.

GPT Meaning: Explained

As we mentioned above, GPT is a type of Large Language Model (LLM) that opened the floodgates of generative artificial intelligence. It is based on the transformer architecture, which is trained on a large corpus of text data and can generate human-like text content. It may come as a surprise but significant contributions to GPT architecture have been made by Google.

Way back in 2017, researchers working at Google came up with a seminal research paper “Attention is All You Need,” which introduced the Transformer model (the “T” in GPT).

Source: Marxav / commons.wikimedia.org

It introduced “Attention” to large language models, which helps in predicting the next word in a sentence without losing context. The Attention mechanism allows the model to focus on different elements of the input and generate each element of the output sequence. Here, the next word is not predicted based on the understanding of natural language like humans do, but based on patterns and statistical inferences and the data LLMs have been trained on.

To sum up, Generative Pre-training Transformer (GPT) is the bedrock architecture on which all popular Transformer models, including ChatGPT 3.5 and 4, are built. It has advanced the field of natural language processing and continues to push the boundary of AI.

Who Developed ChatGPT?

ChatGPT has been developed by an American company called OpenAI. It was founded in 2015 as a non-profit, open-source company by a group of AI scientists and investors, including Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Ilya Sutskever, Andrej Karpathy, and more. In December 2022, OpenAI launched the free preview of ChatGPT based on the GPT-3.5 model.

OpenAI has now transitioned from non-profit to “capped” for-profit and partnered with Microsoft with an investment package of $1 billion. In January 2023, Microsoft announced that it will be investing $10 billion in OpenAI for further research and development.

Best Features of ChatGPT

First and foremost, ChatGPT is highly creative (both GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models). They excel at natural language processing and don’t lose context easily. From writing poems and stories to coming up with absurd ideas and explanations to complex ideas, it’s capable of numerous creative tasks. However, GPT-3.5 is prone to hallucinations as well. It regularly makes up information that does not exist and quotes data out of nowhere.

In this regard, GPT-4 is much better than GPT-3.5. In factual evaluation tests, GPT-4 scored 40% higher than GPT-3.5 across various categories. So if you want to use ChatGPT for research purposes, it’s highly recommended to subscribe to ChatGPT Plus, which costs $20 a month and lets you access the GPT-4 model.

Apart from that, GPT-4 has excelled at many academic and professional exams including SAT, GRE, Uniform Bar Exam, USMLE, Leetcode, and more. It’s also good at coding, reasoning, comprehension, and solving complex mathematical questions.

Further, GPT-4 now allows you to access the internet and get the latest information on any subject, thanks to Bing’s integration. It uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine to find key results on the web. This is not possible on the free GPT-3.5 model that has a knowledge cut-off date of September 2021.

Next, you can extend the functionality of the AI chatbot using ChatGPT Plugins. They let you connect third-party services to ChatGPT directly. From booking flight tickets to summarizing YouTube videos using ChatGPT, you can do just about anything with Plugins. To learn how to enable and use ChatGPT Plugins, follow our linked tutorial.

Then, there is the Code Interpreter Plugin that can run Python code in ChatGPT directly. Your own shell inside ChatGPT, how cool is that? But keep in mind, the Code Interpreter Plugin is not available to all users yet. Finally, GPT-4 is also a multimodal model, which means it can analyze both texts and images. The feature has not been added to ChatGPT yet, but it’s going to change how we interact with AI models.

Sometime in the future, you will be able to ask ChatGPT to draw final impressions from medical reports, get nutritional information from images, and much more. The next-gen GPT-5 model is going to be even more powerful and feature-rich.

What Can You Do With ChatGPT?

There are limitless possibilities with ChatGPT. You can write stories, poems, generate music chords, debug and write code, get easy explanations of abstract concepts, solve mathematical and reasoning questions, and much more. We have a long list of cool things you can do with ChatGPT. People are increasingly using ChatGPT to write essays and for travel planning as well.

Apart from that, you can make money with ChatGPT by creating apps and websites, affiliate marketing, writing e-books, starting an online business, and more. You can also build a custom AI chatbot based on your own data.

If you are a programmer, you can use ChatGPT to write code in VS Code and your favorite IDEs. It’s also good at finding errors in code and fixing them for you. I have been using ChatGPT for the past many months for a variety of tasks, and it has always impressed me.

How to Use ChatGPT in 2024

To use ChatGPT, you can visit the chat.openai.com website and create a free OpenAI account. After signing in, you can chat with the free GPT-3.5 model without any limitations.

However, if you want to use ChatGPT for serious work, I would strongly suggest subscribing to ChatGPT Plus, which will open access to the powerful GPT-4 model.

In case, you don’t want to pay $20 per month, you can use ChatGPT 4 for free using Bing Chat and other third-party services. Bing AI Chat (“Creative mode”) is powered by ChatGPT 4 and also offers a longer context window. You can even use Bing AI Chat in any web browser of your choice.

Top ChatGPT Alternatives

If you want to check out alternatives to ChatGPT, well, you can start with Google Bard. Similar to ChatGPT, Bard AI is Google’s large language model built on the latest PaLM 2 AI model. It is not as capable as GPT-4, but for many other tasks, Bard is quite comparable. Furthermore, you can check out Bing AI Chat which is built on GPT-4 and offers 300 chats per day (30 per session).

Next, you can check out Anthropic’s Claude AI, which is considered a rival to ChatGPT. It also brought a 100K tokens context window, which has not been seen in ChatGPT or other LLMs before. To find more such free ChatGPT alternatives, you can head over to our linked article.

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