ChatGPT was launched at the end of November 2022. It erupted onto the scene, taking a little under a month to elicit a strong response from supporters and dissenters alike.
In this article, we’ll attempt to shed light on what ChatGPT is, giving a backdrop on some of the most positive and negative aspects of the software, then dive into what it may mean for those of us in the marketing industry.
A Look at What ChatGPT Does
ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is an innovative chatbot that is showing the world just how far AI has come. It functions similarly to Google in that you can ask it specific questions and (usually) get an adequate response. However, there are a few key differences between it and Google (which we will cover later).
Rather than seek to explain the software at length, we thought it’d be a good idea to provide a concrete example of what it can do. Here at Matcha Design, we asked ChatGPT how to judge website design. Here’s a screenshot of its response.
As website designers who have been in this industry for over 30 years, we are confident that the information in this particular inquiry is excellent. These are some of the questions that experts ask when designing a new website.
That said, there are obvious limitations, as with any software.
The Admitted Limitations of ChatGPT
Open AI, the founders of ChatGPT, have admitted that there are several limitations to the software, including:
- Hallucination: a phenomenon that OpenAI refers to as its tendency to “sometimes write plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”
- Limited knowledge of recent events: since ChatGPT was trained in 2021 and can’t browse the internet or access extra info, it could provide outdated information.
- Bias: though it isn’t supposed to have biases, ChatGPT may have pro-environmental and left-libertarian stances when prompted to choose between two opinions. Training data also shows algorithmic bias in some cases.
A Positive Take on ChatGPT
The buzz about ChatGPT is undeniable. Despite its many failings, forward-thinking entrepreneurs are already coming up with ways to use it to help their businesses.
Here are some positive takes on ChatGPT:
- It can pass a tech interview. Jonathan Fielding of Medium asked it 5 tech interview questions, and it was able to produce some good answers (before disqualifying itself).
- It adjusts your thinking about computing. Box CEO Aaron Levie tweeted, “There’s a certain feeling that happens when a new technology adjusts your thinking about computing. Google did it. Firefox did it. AWS did it. iPhone did it. OpenAI is doing it with ChatGPT.”
- It can help you come up with ideas. Guy Parsons used the ideas from ChatGPT as MidJourney prompts and the results are stunning. People have also used it to create emails, generate cold email prompts, etc.
- It can help programmers debug software. Several users have already used it to help them debug software quickly and efficiently. Since debugging code usually takes developers/programmers hours, this is a great way to cut down the time.
- And more. Innovative people have come up with all kinds of uses for the software, and as more people use it, the potential of using it as a tool will only increase. The version that is currently out is ChatGPT3, but OpenAI says ChatGPT4 will be even better.
Fears and Negatives of ChatGPT
The main fears and negative aspects of ChatGPT boil down to the above limitations, cybersecurity issues, worries about how it may affect education, and “jailbreaks” to the content policy by people.
Here’s a bit more information:
- Cybersecurity concerns. When combined with other software, ChatGPT is capable of writing phishing emails or malware.
- Qualms regarding education. Plagiarism is a huge concern for many academic administrators and has consequently been banned by NYC schools. Even the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) banned ChatGPT-generated text from being used at the conference, with a few exceptions.
- Jailbreak issues. Although ChatGPT is meant to reject prompts that could violate the content policy, some users have created jailbreaks using engineering tactics. Warning: the jailbreak examples provided on Wikipedia are disturbing and could make it easier for bad actors to generate inaccurate, harmful information.
The Future of Marketing and ChatGPT
It’s still too early to tell exactly how ChatGPT will change the face of marketing as we know it, but if ChatGPT3 is any indication, there is no doubt that things will change.
Unlike Google, ChatGPT doesn’t provide you with links to other websites or invite you to explore a map showing local shops. This makes it difficult to verify the truth of information (making it exceptionally dangerous when used as a search engine on topics you don’t already know).
This setup could also pose an issue for marketers since Google has been the standard in both paid advertising and organic search/SEO. For now, this isn’t as big an issue (since even the creator of ChatGPT warns against using it as a search engine), but that could change in the future with the launch of ChatGPT-4.
It’s clear that, if ChatGPT isn’t a threat to Google yet, it could be. Obviously, if it can take down Google, it could potentially eliminate/minimize the need for a number of jobs. Marketing is one of the industries which could be threatened by ChatGPT, but as of now, the software isn’t unique/personalized/creative enough to completely eliminate the need. Instead, it may be a helpful tool in the hands of a creative marketer.