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 the excitement and frowning concerns surrounding text-generating chatbot use cases, fun (writing limericks and rap lyrics), clever (writing prompts), and dangerous to text-to-image generators like DALL-E and StableDiffusion (threat actors using it to create phishing emails). ) could be game-changing (and Google’s entire search model [subscription required] will be raised?).

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

“The only thing I could compare it to was the release of the iPhone,” he told VentureBeat. Apple’s iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone, but it buried the competition with its touchscreen, ease of use, and introduction of applications that put the entire computing experience in our pockets. The release of the original iPhone in January 2007, followed by the launch of the App Store in July 2008, ushered in a period of historic technological change, Curran explained — when the public realized there was a whole universe of creativity and applications. work with

“It made people aware that basically you could get this handheld computer [having] “We’ve got a Star Trek tricorder in our hands — it’s got tons of sensors and capabilities,” he said.

Like the iPhone, ChatGPT is changing public perception

ChatGPT is changing the public perception around what is possible. But what is happening now goes beyond that, Curran pointed out.

“I think what’s really special here is that today we have a useful technology that’s advancing so quickly that we’re all learning in real time — in terms of how to use it and how to prevent it from being used in negative ways,” he said.

ChatGPT’s release and adoption cycle is unique, he added. “There were a million users in the first few days – even if we assume that’s double a quarter of that, there are still hundreds of thousands of human brains that are suddenly playing with this technology, which is very different. Any other way we rolled out and adopted the technology,” he said.

Was this a responsible way to release ChatGPT?

While some have criticized the way OpenAI released ChatGPT — for example, venture capitalist, economist, and MIT fellow Paul Kedrosky recently tweeted[S]”Ham on OpenAI for unleashing this pocket nuclear bomb without restraints on an unprepared society” — “probably one of the most responsible ways they could introduce this to the public,” Curran insists.

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OpenAI’s approach of showing people step-by-step iteratively on ChatGPT “is a good way to get people into it, otherwise it would all be behind closed doors in a large enterprise,” he pointed out. Even for people who notice and aren’t shocked by ChatGPT’s capabilities, advances are coming at an impressive pace.

“Whatever comes after ChatGPIT, if the public wants to go right, people will lose their minds when it comes out,” he said. “I think OpenAI is trying to avoid culture shock with what they’re creating.”

Potential for seismic change in the enterprise

Just as the iPhone and apps eventually revolutionized all areas of business — from software development and social media to customer service and marketing — Curran said he thinks ChatGPT and other generative AI tools will have a “seismic shift” in the enterprise. In 2023, if enterprises and vendors are conscious about how they adopt technology.

“If we can avoid short-term, major, negative press events around this, I think adoption will be much deeper because the appetite is really strong right now,” he said. “You see people are already integrating [generative AI] To existing operating systems, with a bottom-up approach – you can see this with Shutterstock, for example, two months ago it integrated DALL-E, and now Microsoft has a beta access product called Designer, which is basically a text. Two-image generator integrated with PowerPoint.

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Implementation of best practices is still essential

Whether it’s ChatGPT or any other generative AI capabilities, implementing best practices is still imperative, Curran said.

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

In the past, new technologies have burned enterprises, he added. “When new technology comes along, we never learn that we have to be intentional about adopting it,” he said. “But this time, because there’s so much opportunity for people to get involved at the grassroots level, we can actually get people involved and say, OK, I want to participate in this governance process.”

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