Some could argue that November 30, 2022, was a significant day for all of humankind. That’s the day when OpenAI humbly announced ChatGPT, the sibling model to InstructGPT. ChatGPT was launched as a research preview and allowed anyone with an OpenAI user account access to the GPT-3.5 language model. This version of ChatGPT was fine-tuned from a GPT-3.5 model using Azure AI supercomputing infrastructure. All of these details were announced in a blog post. The details were echoes of all of the things to come. I have heard the word ChatGPT every day since. Azure being a part of the training signaled Microsoft’s involvement and how Microsoft was going to be all-in with Generative AI and Generative Search. Bing got a big upgrade. Copilot got a big upgrade. In 12 months, the effects have been sweeping. And here, I type manually. I didn’t start this post by brainstorming with ChatGPT. I just started tying like I used to. I sit here with all of the red squiggles as I freeform type and edit later. Yeesh.
I have to admit. I did get sucked in. After my first use of ChatGPT, I felt something was different. It was the first time I experienced a chatbot that seemed to have an understanding of what I was talking about. It effortlessly responded to each chat. It produced plausible text. It made things up. It had a personality. It pretty much felt human.
Everything is a Remix
With ChatGPT, I started exploring ideas that I had locked away. I opened old note books and explored some of them in a conversational way. In each interaction, I didn’t always get answers. I got something more important—a direction or a clue on how to keep going. It allowed me to quickly transform my initial idea and try out combinations with the full power of a generative AI model.
I started to remember Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix series. I made the connection because Kirby’s thesis is that all creativity is a process of copying, transforming, and combining. ChatGPT seemed to be a direct reflection of Kirby’s fundamental notion of human creativity. Kirby was thinking the same thing. He even released a video update to his series on Artificial Creativity. He is very clever.
ChatGPT’s First Birthday
Today marks one year since we have all had shared access to the most powerful large-language models. Most of us tried it and might have moved on after the first hallucination. Early adopters held on. Now, I can’t even imagine not having access to ChatGPT. It has allowed me to explore some new ideas, get some things done, and open space for things that I have always wanted to accomplish.
ChatGPT is such a weird term that went viral. It’s like hearing Twitter for the name of a web app for the first time. We dismiss it. Now, ChatGPT is said 100 times on the evening news. OpenAI has doubled down on the branding and uses GPT as a noun for something akin to a web app. I keep telling folks around me that it is about to get weird. Well, it has been a weird year; it just hasn’t caught up to everyone yet. I strongly urge everyone to not miss this wave of technology. It is not a fad. This is the real deal. Learn as much as you can. Try it out. Learn the gaps. Learn how to exploit the gaps. Learn how it accelerates your work. Learn what work it opens up for you. Learn what superpowers you now have. Learn what it feels like to have no excuses left.