Chatting away with ChatGPT - is this the new tech PR prodigy?

It hit a million users and then became unavailable to download (and I’m not talking about the Glastonbury site experience). ChatGPT, the latest chatbot by OpenAI, has been the talk of the AI world over the last two weeks. But while remaining out of action, even the download landing page featured a ChatGPT limerick to amuse its visitors. 

Write a limerick about the status of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is surely the best But its servers are put to the test With so many users chatting It's no wonder they're lagging But they'll fix it soon, no need to fret! So, ChatGPT’s a poet and it fully knows it? Joking aside, what it does showcase is a glimmer of the inventive possibilities it has to offer. Could this be the new creative prodigy to join the PR team? Will it even replace us writers?

Back and upgraded

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog on ChatGPT’s predecessor, GPT-3, titled Welcome to the AI World - the beginning of the end for humanity? It’s remarkable to see its two-year evolution from a language generator to a ‘multi-talented’ chatbot answering text-based prompts, cultivating business plans and assisting website coders.  Creativity is, again, ‘bubbling’. In some ways, its ‘robotic’ dry sense of humour, blunt wording and to-the-point statements can provide this creativity in ways humans may not anticipate. This tweet in a NY Times article is a brilliant example of what a comedy improv night starring ChatGPT would entail.  Rather than just generate language, this is a reactive, conversational robot. But that’s the crux of the point - it remains very much a robot. When it comes to writing specifically, while impressive at times, it still feels a long way off having journalist rooms buzzing with AI bots alone.  One of the finer strings to its bow actually appears to be in becoming a more succinct, insightful and knowledgeable search engine than current iterations. It immediately provides answers specifically sought after versus a list of suggested links to pages and articles - an advanced Alexa if you like. But does this limit the range of voices on offer and bring into question its ‘source of truth’? 

Talking rubbish? Limitations

This is still early days for the technology; as ever, the limitations are there. ChatGPT has been programmed to be aware of its defects and flag them to users, and OpenAI openly acknowledges them. These include: “ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.” This Mashable article provides a few amusing takes on its incorrect ‘facts’.  “The model is often excessively verbose and overuses certain phrases [...]. These issues arise from biases in the training data.”  And it’s this innate problem of bias and misinformation, something so sensitive and prevalent in social media and the online world, that appears a towering obstacle to overcome. How do you train such systems with the amount of data they need and simultaneously avoid such pitfalls?  For it to work, its flaws need to be constantly acknowledged and at the forefront of people’s minds. Time will tell, and improvements can quickly take hold, but it seems to be a nagging point for the foreseeable. 

A creative collaborator

Rather than fall back into spirals of language exploring AI takeover and AI’s reality from the previous blog, perhaps in an attempt to ‘outperform’ AI, it feels more pertinent to see whether the same conclusion is true: AI as a force for good in complementing human activity. It seems, yes, it can be. Most of the online world has lauded ChatGPT as a brilliant idea generator (that’s dodgy on the facts). But that’s the point: it’s a creative spark. Just like a writer’s work over the years, styles constantly shift in line with experience, influence and circumstance. So too will ChatGPT.  For PRs, B2B tech companies and copywriters, it could actually be an imaginative way of going beyond the norm to trigger a myriad of strategies and ideas for creative writing, campaigns and business strategy. If anything, its arrival simply serves to keep us on our toes and bolsters a strive to stay ahead of the rest.   Generative AI is becoming a future, but humans will be there with it. With ChatGPT, it’s another step for the Human-AI world.