ChatGPT is a computer that talks back to humans, literally. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot technology allows users to have full human-like verbal conversation with a computer. 

The tool provides responses to users’ voice prompts using language processing techniques.

Small wonder ChatGPT has had tongues wagging non-stop since it’s launch in November last year.

A brave new world for AI

OpenAI has been raking in the plaudits since the day they put ChatGPT out for consumption, with the chatbot becoming the fastest-adopted consumer tool in the history of technology. It has been hailed as the ultimate Al tool, a disruptor and game changer.

The reactions to the advent of ChatGPT have been quite a mixed bag. Superlative after superlatives. Cautionary note after cautionary note.

Tech boffins and Al enthusiasts gaga over ChatGPT view the chatbot as a great opportunity, a significant development in the field of artificial intelligence.

At the other extreme end we have the hysterical shrills of those who see ChatGPT as an existential threat, especially to the way tertiary institutions teach and assess students.

There is also debates around data protection and the content consumed by ChatGPT.

The sharply contrasting reactions speak to both opportunities presented and threats posed by AI tools. Yet amid these competing opinions there is an emerging consensus around the growing importance of AI tools and their role in society. There is acceptance ChatGPT is set to revolutionise the way we conduct research and deliver presentations in the classroom or the boardroom, among other benefits.

Here is a test case I created out of ChatGPT and other AI Tools and Canava.

AI tools are the future, so much so that OpenAI competitors are scrambling for strategies to peg back the ChatGPT juggernaut. They have all to do to close the gap after the recent release of ChatGPT-4, a successor to ChatGPT and an even more effective version of its predecessor.

Opportunity: Back to the future

Fans of the 1980’s TV series Knight Rider will remember David Hasselhoff’s character, Michael Knight and his crime-fighting sidekick, a self-drive car fitted with an AI interface, KITT.

Michael was able to have a conversation with KITT. He would ask KITT for advise on how to navigate tricky and dangerous situations. The commuter would respond to Michael’s voice commands with suggestions and solutions.

Four decades later, reality could be about to mirror science fiction.

Reports suggest General Motors (GM) are planning to fit their cars with a KITT-type AI conversational interface inspired by ChatGPT. Such a tool would also come with a “How to” video complete with step-by-step instructions on how to fix car problems, be it a flat tyre or other malfunctions.

Who needs text-based manuals when you have chatbot technology?

Threat: Outsourcing assignments

The bulk of concerns about ChatGPT to date emanate from tertiary institutions grappling with the implications of AI chatbot technology for how they teach or assess students.

ChatGPT can write essays on almost anything as long as the information is available on the internet. For example, it can write an essay on “The causes of the Russo-Ukrainian war” or “The various Covid-19 strains and their defining characteristics.”

The fear within academia is that ChatGPT is an enabler of laziness and plagiarism, and that students will simply outsource assignments to the AI tool and pass off the chatbot’s work as their own original effort. And some could ask, is that wrong or smart?

Allied to this concern is the fear that the advent of Al tools will make traditional search engines as we know them obsolete.

ChatGPT is also set to be the tool of choice for those who preach working smarter, not harder, putting in less man hours but producing quality work and getting paid handsomely for it.

In industries like digital marketing and publishing, the concern is that client briefs and feedback will simply be outsourced to ChatGPT to execute.

With AI tools more than capable of matching human effort in some areas and even surpassing human effectiveness, there are also fears it is only a matter of time before humans are put out to pasture, rendered redundant by AI tools. Don’t panic, I’m not saying tomorrow but ChatGPT and AI tools are moving fast.

Intelligent but not foolproof

I’m a huge fan of ChatGPT and rate the tool highly. I have added it to my must-have list of tools key to the performance of my functions.

I’m not blind to the fact that not all results ChatGPT produces are factually accurate or relevant. The tool’s charm and eloquence sometimes mask inaccuracies and downright false responses.

I would also struggle to see at this stage how students are passing off the work as you can clearly see through the language and human touch but that is not an area of my expertise.  Other tools I’ve also adopted into my daily life are quillbot, micro and Canva.

ChatGPT is peerless in my book. However, it’s overall intelligence does not eliminate the need to check and double-check its responses for accuracy and relevance.

Catalyst for new knowledge

Not all academics are apprehensive about embracing ChatGPT. Some education practitioners are excited about the role the chatbot could play in the generation of new knowledge. They believe that if deployed properly the tool can contribute positively to the discourse on the role of artificial intelligence in a constantly evolving society, and also cause universities to rethink the way they conduct teaching and assessment.

So, rather than look at ChatGPT as an enemy of learning and assessment, some are advocating for its adoption as a vital tool with potential to unlock new ways of teaching and learning. They are challenging universities to turn a perceived threat into an opportunity, something I would advocate.

I believe that education in schools should also evolve and teach students to be lifelong learners capable of adjusting to changing technology, industry, and social changes.

Competitors fightback

The counterattack has already started, with Google set to unveil it’s own chatbot tool, Bard, a direct competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Not to be outdone by ChatGPT, Bard will also help students to write essays or plan social events – birthdays, bachelor parties, hen nights, etc. Users will also be able to ask Bard for ideas on what meals to whip up based on the ingredients they have.

It will be interesting to see how Bard compares to ChatGPT. Either way, the user, with options to choose from, is the winner.

When asked about ChatGPT, I respond AI tools should be adopted, but they still require the human element of creativity and ideas.

Let the chatbot technology wars begin!


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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