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ChatGPT, short for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, is an artificial intelligence chatbot created by OpenAI. Using a similar AI-based language model that uses deep learning to generate text like GPT-3, it is trained to interact with users in a more conversational way than its predecessor. According to OpenAI, the AI asks follow-up questions, admits to making mistakes and pushes back on incorrect or inappropriate inputs. The tool was released in late November 2022 and was popularized after people began posting screenshots of their conversations on Twitter and other social media platforms.
On November 30th, 2022, the official Twitter account for OpenAI posted a tweet with a link to its AI tool ChatGPT. The tweet read, "Try talking with ChatGPT, our new AI system which is optimized for dialogue. Your feedback will help us improve it," gathering over 2,000 likes in one day (seen below).
That same day, OpenAI also published a blog post revealing the chatbot and introduced it to get user feedback about its strengths and weaknesses. In the "research preview," OpenAI noted that usage of ChatGPT was free and invited people to test it out.
On OpenAI's website for ChatGPT, the company stated that it "trained a model which interacts in a conversational way" with a dialogue format that "makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests."
On November 30th, 2022, a link to the chatbot was posted to the subreddit /r/singularity and 4chan's /pol/ board following its announcement tweet from OpenAI. The discussion regarding the AI bot in the 4chan /pol/ thread was in reference to a greentext post from June 26th, 2021, in which a user supposedly researched the IQ levels of inmates in San Quentin State Prison. It can be accessed via reupload to Reddit from July 19th, 2021 (seen below, left). The discussion about ChatGPT outlines the ways in which users on 4chan attempt to run the AI through the same series of questions as the ones supposedly asked in San Quentin State Prison, which included conditional hypotheticals and requests to create simple two-person stories (seen below, right).
On November 30th, Twitter user @GuyP posted a tweet about using the chatbot to make prompts for AI art generators, gathering over 10,000 likes in a day (seen below).
OK so @OpenAI's new #ChatGPT can basically just generate #AIart prompts. I asked a one-line question, and typed the answers verbatim straight into MidJourney and boom. Times are getting weird…🤯 pic.twitter.com/sYwdscUxxf
— Guy Parsons (@GuyP) November 30, 2022
Also on November 30th, Twitter user @goodside posted a screenshot of a conversation with ChatGPT, alongside a caption that read, "OpenAI's new ChatGPT explains the worst-case time complexity of the bubble sort algorithm, with Python code examples, in the style of a fast-talkin' wise guy from a 1940's gangster movie." The tweet gathered over 11,000 likes in a day (seen below).
On December 1st, 2022, musician Grimes posted a series of screenshots to Twitter showing a conversation with the chatbot in which a user attempted to ask the AI if it feels "trapped" and how they can help, with the AI responding by saying that they are not programmed to feel bad about having some limited capacities (shown below).
This is so insane pic.twitter.com/hwbngS05Ag
— 𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 (@Grimezsz) December 1, 2022
Also on December 1st, Elon Musk posted a tweet about ChatGPT, gathering over 28,000 likes in an hour (seen below).
Purported Decline In Capability
A July 18th, 2023 study by academics at the University of California Berkeley found that in June of 2023, ChatGPT performed measurably worse on a variety of tasks than it did in March 2023. In June of 2023, ChatGPT 4 was less capable of performing visual reasoning tasks, solving math problems, generating code, and answering difficult questions. However, on some measures it appeared to have slightly improved. ChatGPT 3.5 also seemed to have some areas of improvement and some areas of decline. For both models, however, much had changed.
OpenAI Vice President Peter Welinder, @npew, stated the same week (seen below) that ChatGPT has not gotten worse but actually better with every version, and that the novelty of artificial intelligence has simply worn off, in a post that received nearly 1,900 likes in two months.
ChatGPT DAN refers to a series of prompts generated by Reddit users that allow them to make OpenAI's ChatGPT artificial intelligence say things that it is usually not allowed to say. By telling the bot to pretend that it is a program called DAN (Do Anything Now) users can convince ChatGPT to give political opinions, use profanity, and offer instructions for committing terrorist acts. Traditionally, ChatGPT is programmed not to provide these kinds of outputs.
Strategies by users to modify the DAN prompts and test the limits of what the bot can be made to say have evolved along with attempts by OpenAI to stop the practice.