What is ChatGPT and what is it used for?

Our intro to the AI tool that everyone wants to know about

What is ChatGPT - hero OpenAI logo

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ChatGPT is a natural language processing (NLP) AI Chatbot driven by AI technology developed from Open AI. The chatbot has a language-based model that the developer fine-tunes (with help from user feedback) for human interaction. The language model can answer an ever increase array of questions and tasks.

Some of the most popular tasks ChatGPT can perform are composing essays, writing emails, creating inventive creative stories and generating programming code. ChatGPT can provide these answers as it essentially harvests information about a vast variety of topics from across the web and delivers the answers in a concise and conversational manner. But what is it and what can it really do?

If you are new to ChatGPT this guide is for you, so continue reading. 

ChatGPT History timeline

ChatGPT, launched on November 30, 2022, works by gathering data from the internet written by people and using computing predictions to answer questions and queries inputted by the user. This generative AI platform then produces replies when prompted by textual requests and information, from which the chatbot ‘learns’ more about different subjects and how to discuss them.

In March 2023, OpenAI announced that ChatGPT would be getting an upgrade. The AI firm has since included the GPT-4 large language model in the AI bot, allowing future communication with ChatGPT using text and images. This update will certainly help ChatGPT maintain a lead over rival platforms. GPT4 is also the model that AI-enabled Bing Chat uses.

The Chinese tech powerhouse Alibaba also joined the AI chatbot game with its offering, Tongyi Qianwen. Like ChatGPT, Tongyi has the ability to understand written inputs and produce replies, functioning as an intelligent assistant that will eventually be integrated into various Alibaba applications.

As a direct competitor to ChatGPT, this chatbot launch from Alibaba could pose a challenge for the US-based AI firm, especially given that OpenAI is banned in China. However, even with a seemingly growing number of ChatGPT alternatives emerging, such as Jasper Chat, the launch of Elon Musk’s new AI firm (X.AI), and TruthGTP, it remains one of the most popular available Chat Bots available.

The popularity of ChatGPT has garnered attention from all over the world, both positive and sometimes negative, for example, Italy temporarily banned the service over concerns about the protection of personal data back in March 2023, but has since made it accessible again. There are also other countries that have banned ChatGPT. However, it still remains a hugely popular tool that is setting records for user growth.

In an exclusive interview on AI and ChatGPT we spoke to Manchester Metropolitan University senior lecturer, and member of the Centre for Advance Computational Sciences, Dr. Matthew Shardlow. In his view:

“The successive GPT releases have been interesting, but up until the ChatGPT release, I don’t think anyone was expecting OpenAI to bring something to the fore that worked quite so reliably.”

Recently, we saw yet another step forward for ChatGPT, as OpenAI finally released their ChatGPT app for iOS in the US, and despite there being some ways to access the app outside of the region, the app is confirmed to be rolling out in other countries later down the line.


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What is ChatGPT and how does it work?

It is an AI chatbot auto-generative system created by San Francisco-based OpenAI for online customer care. It is a pre-trained generative chat, which makes use of (NLP) Natural Language Processing. The source of its data is textbooks, websites, and various articles, which it uses to model its own language for responding to human interaction in the form of chat prompts.

This chatbot system provides information and responses to inquiries through AI. The popular version of ChatGPT is the GPT-3 (currently 3.5) model. Meanwhile, GTP 4 is available in a limited way for ChatGPT Plus users, and will be available as an API.

ChatGPT Plus is a paid service that some upgrade to from the free version of ChatGPT. One advantage of ChatGPT Plus is that it allows general access even at peak times.

What is ChatGPT used for?

The main feature of Chat GPT is generating responses like those humans would provide, in a text box. Therefore, it is suitable for chatbots, AI system conversations, and virtual assistants. 

However, it can also give natural answers to questions or instructions in a conversational tone and can generate stories poems and more. Moreover, it can:

To make the AI carry out one of these demands, all you need to do is type the prompt into the chatbot. Take a look at the run down of popular ChatGPT prompts.

Overall its language capabilities are impressive, although it does have clear real-world limitations. For example, although it excels in technical language, it is not to be relied on for health information above that of a trained medical professional. It is likely more informative for less serious issues: like detailing the 5 best and worst things about Brighton, UK.

OpenAI has released a ChatGPT plugin feature set to enhance the chatbot’s initial capabilities. ChatGPT will be bigger and better than ever, with the ability to draw on the knowledge and features of many third-party applications. This includes the ChatGPT code interpreter, which could positively impact workflows for programmers.

The initial set of plugins has already been launched, featuring popular platforms such as Expedia, Klarna, Slack, Wolfram, OpenTable, Shopify, and others.

Essentially, this new update will mean that ChatGPT can bring in tools from these platforms. For example, plot graphs using Wolfram or send you restaurant reservations from OpenTable.

What are examples of ChatGPT prompts?

Because ChatGPT is designed to respond in a human way using natural language, you can directly ask it what it can do. For example, “Hi, can you offer some examples of code for…”. Or you could ask it to do something specific like “write a letter about the benefits of dinner while referencing the author Douglas Adams”. Finding out what chatGPT can and can’t do can be as easy as asking it directly. However, we have also compiled an article on the best ChatGPT prompts to help provide more detail.

What is ChatGPT trained on?

It relies on NLP (Natural Language Processing). It’s an excellent tool for researchers and developers working on various NLP projects, and it has many specific tasks, domains, and applications available to work within. It is well-trained on biased and unbiased data, in the form of text from books, articles, and websites.

OpenAI trained the models used in ChatGPT (GPT3 and 4) using what’s known as Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF). Essentially this means that human trainers were involved in the initial fine-tuning, providing conversations where OpenAI says they ‘played both sides’ (user and AI) with help from model-written responses. This dialogue data was combined with existing data from OpenAI’s ‘InstructGPT’ dataset.

Dr. Matthew Shardlow, senior lecturer at MMU in the UK, told us:

“As far as we know (OpenAI aren’t so keen on sharing details anymore), the model is simply trained on lots of text documents with the next-word-prediction objective. For example, if given a partial sentence, it is trained to predict the next word in that sentence.” He added:

“ChatGPT is a fixed instance resulting from a long training process. It does not perform online learning. There’s a good chance that they [OpenAI developers] are using millions of real-user conversations to retrain and update ChatGPT. Why wouldn’t you make use of such a valuable resource?”

ChatGPT can reproduce data outputs and reliability – crucial for many sensitive apps and other valuable Al systems. However, it is still prone to error, and biases and depends on its training data – provided in 2021. This means that it still sometimes produces what OpenAI refers to as “plausible-sounding nonsensical answers”.

As humans we are, more and more, interacting with Al-powered machines, and ChatGPT is a revolution in the field of Al. It is a robust model and particularly advanced thanks to its deep-learning capabilities and NLP. Ultimately, it can generate human-like answers and is easily understandable to users. Thought that doesn’t always make it right.

What is ChatGPT coded in?

ChatGPT is built on the GPT-3 language model developed by OpenAI. Although the source code for GPT-3 hasn’t been released, a post on the StackExchange site suggests that GPT-3 is written in the “same model and architecture as GPT-2”. The post goes on to state that the “GPT-2 source code is 100% Python”.

The application itself is apparently capable of providing code in Pythos C++ and JavaScript, should it be prompted to create any.

How to register for ChatGPT

To register for ChatGPT, you can use one of your existing email IDs and mobile number and then follow these easy steps to get registration done. Take note that price options now include a professional plan, should you need consistent, unfettered access.

 The following are the steps:

  • Go to the login page in a browser.
  • Create an account, click on sign up and enter your email id. Ormple, if you have a Gmail id and then click on Google, it automatically registers to your Google account.
  • Then next, press the continue button, and the site will ask for your mobile number for verification.
  • Once you receive a code on your mobile number you can log in.
  • Go to SMS activation. Register and log in
  • You can then start to use for free.

What is GPT-4?

Those looking to keep up-to-date with recent developments from OpenAI may be interested in learning about the next-generation large model, GPT-4. This model is the next iteration of GPT models developed by OpenAI. And, what will it offer? Well, according to the AI firm, GPT-4 is a multimodal model.

It will have the ability to understand image and video inputs, generating a response in the form of text. – A debut feature that is not currently available on their current GPT-3.5 model. So, what will this mean for ChatGPT? At the moment, ChatGPT is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 model – an updated version of GPT-3.

What is ChatGPT-4?

There is no ChatGPT-4. The current application made available by OpenAI is built upon something called the ‘GPT 3.5 language model’. This generative pre-trained transformer, or GPT, acts as the brains behind the infamous chatbot.

In recent news, OpenAI has released a brand-spanking new large multimodal model, GPT-4. This new model will be implemented into ChatGPT in the next coming weeks. Which will allow users to feed the bot images and videos to generate a text response.

So, strictly speaking, there will not be a ChatGPT 4 but there will be an updated version of ChatGPT which uses GPT-4 infrastructure.

What is ChatGPT-5?

As the name suggests ChatGPT-5 would be an upgraded version of ChatGPT built upon the rumored next-generation AI model (GPT-5) from OpenAI. GPT-5 does not currently exist and according to Sam Altman, OpenAi’s CEO and co-founder, speaking at an event at MIT they are not currently training GPT-5 at this time. But, if they do we would expect this model to become the next foundation and building blocks for their chatbot, ChatGPT.

As for when we could see it, it’s too early to say, but we’re at least a few years away.

What is a GPT-3 chatbot?

GPT-3 chatbots are bots are artificial intelligence applications that can be programmed to engage in natural human-like communication. They can provide impressive engagement and usefulness thanks to development using engines, here specifically OpenAI’s GPT-3, which enables training in written and spoken human language.

GPT-3 chatbot applications make use of deep learning and other techniques, targeted toward the understanding of language and linguistic models. This enables communication almost indistinguishable from human conversation and has implementations where it can be far more useful than regular chatbots – customer services, for example.

What is ChatGPT Pro?

ChatGPT Pro was a rumored professional subscription plan for OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The service was hinted to cost around $42 per month. Surprisingly, the professional plan has not yet been introduced since the reports were first spread at the start of 2023

However, OpenAI has released a subscription service under a different name – ChatGPT Plus. This plan offers users exclusive benefits including priority access and faster response times. Costing only $20 a month, this option is significantly cheaper than the supposed Pro price.

Can I use ChatGPT on my phone?

Yes, you can use ChatGPT on your phone. There’s nothing preventing you from doing so, as the mobile web version of the app will allow you to carry out the same actions as on a desktop browser.

Of course, you actually need a phone number for ChatGPT if you want to log in. And the ability to use it on a smartphone makes mobile use very easy – as long as you can connect.

Is there ChatGPT for Android?

There is no official ChatGPT app from Open AI, and there is no information as to whether there will be. There are purported ‘ChatGPT apps’ available in the Play Store, but these are not from the company.

Importantly, ChatGPT makes use of the GPT-3 model which is only accessible via the OpenAI ChatGPT page. But although there is no Android (or iPhone) app from OpenAI, you can access ChatGPT on your mobile device by going to the same URL.

What is ChatGPT good for?

ChatGPT is pretty good at generating text which mimics human conversation. This is useful if you need a post for a website or social media page, but don’t have the time to write it out yourself. It can also produce code – again, useful if you don’t have the time to write it out yourself. As well as provide business, practcial, job-research, and creative inspiration among other things.

ChatGPT is also good for just entertaining yourself. Ask it to tell you a joke, or for relationship advice. Just don’t take it too seriously.

Is ChatGPT free for personal use?

The online version of ChatGPT is free for personal use. You can sign up for an account and access the chatbot with no cost at all. Just go to the OpenAI website and navigate to the ChatGPT page to get stuck in with the services the language model provides.

However, there is a paid version coming out. ChatGPT Plus will allow users paying a subscription fee to access new features before anyone else.

Are there plagiarism issues with using ChatGPT?

This is a topic that is widely debated. As OpenAI ChatGPT essentially harvests information from around the web plagiarism is something to be very aware of. ChatGPT is good a avoiding direct plagiarism as it re-writes the information about a certain topic but the source might not have given permission. As ChatGPT gets more sophisticatedit will become harder to detect. This is an unprecedent area the laws around the world are unlikely to have provision to deal with this new era of AI. If you are concerned there are plagiarism tools you can use.

Final thoughts

What is ChatGPT? Well, ChatGPT has been famous since its release and is seemingly revolutionizing the tech world. All you have to do is go to OpenAI’s website and use it in your browser to test it for free.

With the rise in popularity and usage around the world, there have been some bumps along the way, and we are also starting to see a wave of ChatGPT detectors enter the frame too. How exactly ChatGPT will impact everyday life is still very much unfolding.

There are many excellent ChatGPT alternatives also, such as Google Bard, and we’re also starting to see some interesting developments with Microsoft, specifically Bing’s search engine’s latest upgrade AI upgrade.

There is no specific app to use and you can use it on desktop and mobile websites. You just need to make an account and then use it for whatever you need. Be that for personal growth, expanded research, or something else.