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One of the surprising tech success stories of 2022 was the introduction of artificial intelligence into the worlds of art and writing. In the case of art, it was wonderfully creative AI programs such as DALL-E, which can take just a few words from a text prompt and create an artistic masterpiece within seconds. In the case of writing, it was ChatGPT, a simple user interface for creating anything from poems and stories to elaborate technical explanations of how things work.
What is ChatGPT and why does it matter?
In many ways, you can think of ChatGPT as a chatbot. Just like all chatbots, it has been trained on human dialogue, which is why the responses sound so, well, human. And using a special language recognition model, ChatGPT’s replies are meant to be as conversational as possible. It is, indeed, a chatbot that is capable of keeping up with just about any conversation. It can even answer follow-up questions.
Moreover, ChatGPT can challenge any of the assumptions or premises that you give it. Suppose, for example, you give ChatGPT the following prompt: “Tell me about when Christopher Columbus came to the United States in 2015.” The ChatGPT would immediately correct you and tell you that Christopher Columbus actually died in 1506, so this wouldn’t be possible. It would then “pretend” that he actually did come to the United States and describe what he would have encountered. This requires a sort of inspired imagination that we typically attribute to humans.
ChatGPT and digital marketing
In terms of social media marketing, ChatGPT holds enormous potential. Essentially, all you do is enter a few words of text into an interface, and you can get a real-time reply of surprising depth and sophistication. Sometimes, the results are so brilliant and so shocking that it’s almost impossible to believe a human did not create the work.
The most obvious application, of course, is customer service and support. ChatGPT could revolutionize the way we receive help online, and make it entertaining as well. ChatGPT might also be used for education and training (imagine a special 1-on-1 lesson with a brilliant instructor who knows everything), or as a next-level personal assistant.
The next Google?
If there is one killer app for ChatGPT, say some social media experts, it is as a replacement for Google. Think about it – every time you enter a query into Google, you are really putting a huge strain on the Google algorithm, which must race to decipher what you really meant (if you misspelled a word, for example), and then take into account everything it knows about you (your location, your previous search terms) to come up with the most relevant answer possible. But even then, Google only gives you a possible link to the answer, NOT the answer itself.
In contrast, ChatGPT can give you (at least theoretically) the precise answer, and it can do so in a way that can be highly entertaining. You can, for example, instruct ChatGPT to write the reply in a certain literary style, perhaps of your favorite author. That’s when the true power of ChatGPT becomes obvious. It really does feel like you are conversing with another person, and not just a silly bot.
As legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And that, indeed, is what ChatGPT is. A piece of pure magic. It will be exciting to see what digital marketers do with it in 2023.