Why this ChatGPT moment harks back to the original iPhone

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Exactly three weeks ago, OpenAI released ChatGPT.

Since then, it’s been nearly impossible to keep up with both the hyped-up excitement and the worrisome concerns about the text-generating chatbot’s use cases, which range from the funny (writing limericks and rap lyrics) to the clever (writing directions). for text-to-image generators like DALL-E and Stable Diffusion) to the dangerous (threat actors who use it to generate phishing emails) and the game-changing (it could Google’s entire search model). [subscription required] be inverted?).

Is it possible to compare this moment in the evolution of generative AI to any other technological development? According to Forrester Research AI/ML analyst Rowan Curran, it is.

“The only thing I could compare it to is the launch of the iPhone,” he told VentureBeat. Apple’s iPhone was not the first smartphone, but it buried the competition with its touch screen, ease of use and introduction of applications that put a whole computer experience in our pockets. The launch of the original iPhone in January 2007, followed by the launch of the App Store in July 2008, marked the beginning of a period of historic technological change, Curran explained, when the mass public learned that there was a whole universe of creativity and applications that could . work with

It made people aware of “that you could have this handheld computer that’s basically like [having] a Star Trek tricorder in our hand, this thing with tons of sensors and capacity,” he said.

ChatGPT, like the iPhone, is changing public consciousness

ChatGPT is also changing public awareness of what is possible. But what’s happening now goes even further, Curran noted.

“I think what’s really unique here is that we have a technology that’s useful today, that’s moving very quickly, and that we’re all learning from in real time, both in terms of using it and how to avoid using it in a negative way. “, said.

ChatGPT’s launch and adoption cycle was also unique, he added. “There were a million users in the first few days or so, even if we assume a quarter of them are doubles, that’s still hundreds of thousands of human brains that are suddenly playing with this technology, which is very different. any other way than let’s have the technology rolled out and adopted,” he said.

Was this a responsible way to launch ChatGPT?

While some have criticized the way OpenAI launched ChatGPT, for example, venture capitalist, economist and MIT fellow Paul Kedrosky recently tweeted “[S]I love OpenAI for dropping this unrestricted pocket nuke on an unprepared society” – Curran insists it was “probably one of the most responsible ways they could have introduced this to the public”.

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OpenAI’s approach to iterating on ChatGPT and showing people step-by-step is “a great way to get people acclimated to this, because otherwise this would all be done behind closed doors in a big company,” he said, pointing out. that even for those paying attention and not surprised by ChatGPT’s capabilities, advances are coming at a remarkable rate.

“For the public to have gone straight to whatever comes after ChatGPT, people would lose their minds when it came out,” he said. “I think OpenAI is trying to avoid the culture clash they’re creating.”

Potential for seismic change in the company

Just as the iPhone and apps eventually led to a revolution in all areas of business, from software development and social media to customer service and marketing, Curran said he thinks ChatGPT and other intelligence-generating tools artificial could have a “seismic shift” in the company. in 2023, if companies and suppliers deliberate on how they adopt the technology.

“If we can avoid any immediate negative press events in the short term, I think adoption will be pretty deep, because the appetite is so strong right now,” he said. “You see the ease with which people are already integrating [generative AI] in existing work systems, with a bottom-up approach; you can see this with Shutterstock, for example, which two months ago integrated DALL-E, and now Microsoft has a beta access product called Designer, which is basically a text. integrated image generator with PowerPoint”.

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Implementing best practices remains essential

And whether it’s ChatGPT or any other generative AI capability, implementing best practices remains essential, Curran said.

“I think we’re all still collectively thinking about what the exact best practices are, but there’s no reason not to continue to implement best practices to understand your vendors’ solutions,” he said. “If you’re getting a great language model through a vendor, what model are they using? What was the basic training data? What is the fine tuning of the training data? How are they auditing this model?

In the past, he added, companies have been burned by new technologies. “We never seem to really learn that when new technologies come along, we need to be deliberate about adopting them,” he said. “But this time, because there are so many opportunities for people to get involved at the grassroots level, we can get people to step in and say, OK, I want to be involved in this governance process.”

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