The importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential impact on the workforce has entered the limelight in the last weeks of the year 2022. News outlets and internet websites reported on a groundbreaking achievement in AI: the development of chatbots based on large language models (LLMs) that can be used by the general public in an intuitive, conversational and user-friendly manner (1–3). The talk of the town has been specifically OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which was, upon its release, made available to the public for free. An additional chargeable version has been released afterwards (4, 5) and on March 14th 2023 OpenAI announced an upgraded and more capable GPT-4 (accepting image and text inputs), which was made available to the paying customers (6). Other companies have been following suit, and have been also integrating chatbots into their respective search engines (e.g. You.com’s YouChat (7, 8)), or Google’s Bard and its upcoming DeepMind’s Sparrow (9, 10)). With OpenAI having Microsoft as a main investor (11), ChatGPT is already being implemented into Microsoft products, such as its search engine Bing, MS Teams and the Office 365 (12, 13).
The basis for LLMs is natural language processing (NLP), a branch of AI concerned with teaching computers to understand text and spoken words in much the same way human beings can. (14, 15).
GPT-3.5, on which ChatGPT is based, was trained to generate human-like text by predicting the respective next word in a sequence based on the context provided by the previous words. While it is trained on a large amount of text data, the exact data or the algorithm details are not publicly known (16).