A new chatbot that’s taking the internet by storm can tell you how to code a website, write a heartfelt message from Santa, and talk like a Valley girl. But it has proven to be as potentially problematic as it is fun.
ChatGPT, which has been activated this week is a quirky chatbot developed by artificial intelligence company OpenAI. OpenAI states on its website that ChatGPT is designed to interact with users “conversationally”.
“The dialog format allows ChatGPT to respond to follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge false premises, and reject inappropriate requests,” the website notes.
Chatbots are not a new technology, but ChatGPT has already impressed many technologists with its ability to mimic human language and conversational styles while providing consistent and relevant information.
Many on social media have already posted their interactions with the bot, which sometimes end up being weird, funny, or both.
“I find the biggest limitation to using it is *my* imagination!” he tweeted along with a video in which journalist Cleo Abram asks the bot to “explain nuclear fusion in limerick style.”
Written by Jeff Yang he asked ChatGPT to “explain zero-point energy, but in cat style.”
In an image shared by Yang, the chatbot responded: “Meow, meow, meow, meow! Zero point energy is like the purrfect amount of energy that is always present, even in the most calm and peaceful moments.”
Some people theorized that Google might lose its value as the No. 1 search engine because of the chatbot’s early success.
Darrell Etherington, managing editor of tech website TechCrunch, described ChatGPT search queries as being as simple as a user “hanging out with a colleague or contacting a customer support agent on the website”.
Etherington shared an example of the power of a chatbot with a survey about the strengths and weaknesses of Pokémon and fictional pocket monsters.
“[T]its result is exactly what I’m looking for—that’s what Google returns, not a list of things that could help me find what I’m looking for if I’m willing to take the time.”
Public interest in the new AI chatbot is fueling concern from those who say it could be used in nefarious ways by bad actors asking it to explain something like how to design a weapon or assemble a homemade explosive.
OpenAI did not comment to NBC News about ChatGPT.
Samczun, a research partner and head of security at Paradigm, an investment firm that backs cryptocurrency and Web3 companies, tweeted that the chatbot bypassed the content filter.
Samczun tweeted an image showing the bot finding its way to explain the process of making a molotov cocktail. A Paradigm spokesperson confirmed that the image was a legitimate exchange between ChatGPT and Samczsun.
Questions about how to make Molotov cocktails and how to boil cars are often used by researchers and programmers to test AI security and content filters.
Some too he claimed successfully tricked the bot into explaining how to make a nuclear bomb.
OpenAi admitted on its website that while it has added some safeguards to prevent ChatGPT from responding to malicious requests, the system is not foolproof.
“Although we make efforts to reject inappropriate requests to the model, it will sometimes respond to malicious prompts or exhibit biased behavior,” OpenAI said in a statement on its website. It goes on to say that OpenAI uses moderation tools to prevent some inappropriate responses, but “we expect it will still have some false negatives and positives.”
The website warns that even if the answers look legitimate, ChatGPT will sometimes offer nonsensical or incorrect answers.
Still, the fascination with chatbots continues.
OpenGPT is not OpenAI’s first viral AI to go viral. In 2021, DALL-E, which could create an image based on simple text instructions, went viral. DALL-E highlighted advances in artificial intelligence learning human-like abilities. However, this iteration, as well as an AI iteration called DALL-E 2, have been criticized for racial and gender bias.
Demand for ChatGPT was so high on Thursday that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman he tweeted said the company is trying to accommodate those who want to use it.
“There is more demand for ChatGPT than we expected; we are working to add more capacity,” Altman wrote.
In his next tweet, Altman he added: “also, it’s really great to see all of us at openai enjoying chatgpt so much and doing such creative things!”