Released in late 2022, ChatGPT uses artificial intelligence to produce coherent written responses – or computer code – to a user’s natural language prompts. It can adapt its responses based on user feedback or additional prompts. OpenAI, the company that developed Chat GPT, is currently providing the tool for free (with user registration), and the company will continue to enhance the tool over time. Other similar tools are in development.
ChatGPT has already been used to produce a wide range of essays, exam solutions, letters, fiction, blog posts and many other outputs at various levels of quality and accuracy. Materials are usually clearly structured and grammatically correct. ChatGPT can also generate code and fix coding bugs.
While there is a lot that ChatGPT can do, it also has some limitations – two significant examples at this point being that it is not always accurate and has difficulty with citations. According to the tool’s FAQs, it can produce harmful or biased content and its outputs may be “inaccurate, untruthful, and otherwise misleading at times.” While the tool provides responses using publicly available information on the internet, it cannot provide its specific sources, and it is not clear what information is being used to inform the responses. It cannot access content behind logins or paywalls and currently has very limited knowledge of events after 2021. As the AI develops, however, this may change.