It’s tough to put into words exactly what ChatGPT actually is. So, I thought why not ask ChatGPT itself how to explain what it is to a non-technical person. Here is what it replied (I know you can hear HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey” in this reply):
Me: How do I explain what ChatGPT is to someone with a limited understanding of technology?
ChatGPT: Sure, let’s try to explain it in the simplest terms possible:
ChatGPT is like a digital helper that can write and talk. It was taught to do this by reading lots of books, articles, websites, and other texts. When you ask it something or ask it to do something, it tries to come up with the best response or action based on what it has learned.
Imagine having a really big book that has all sorts of information in it. You can ask ChatGPT a question, and it will “flip through the pages” of its “book” to find an answer. But instead of flipping through real pages, it’s going through all the data it learned from.
ChatGPT isn’t a human and doesn’t think or have feelings. It’s more like a very advanced calculator: you put something in, and it gives you something back based on its programming. It’s not perfect and doesn’t always get things right, but it’s getting better all the time.
Just remember that ChatGPT doesn’t know everything, and it can’t learn new things on its own or understand the world in the way a human can. It also doesn’t remember conversations or know who you are, so all conversations are anonymous and private.
Takeaway – ChatGPT can be thought of as a search engine on steroids. However, but the data is only “current” as of September 2021. Here is the website to try some conversations for yourself: https://chat.openai.com/