How OpenAI’s AI works

How OpenAI’s AI works


The artificial intelligence of OpenAI is still free for registered users.

(Photo: Bloomberg)

Dusseldorf The record of chat programs based on artificial intelligence (AI) has so far been meager. The chatbot Tay took its developer Microsoft 2016 offline just 24 hours after publication. Facebook Group Galactica Meta Lasted at least three days last November. The language models quickly got out of hand with racist or meaningless statements.

But things are different with ChatGPT from the US start-up OpenAI. It has been accessible since November 30th and surprises with texts and dialogues, that could be from humans.

There are still problems here, such as wrong or incorrect information or template-like answers. But the progress is clearly visible. Microsoft is now expanding its collaboration with OpenAI and, according to media reports, will invest around ten billion dollars in the coming years. What makes ChatGPT so much better? Here are the most important questions and answers.

Who founded OpenAI?

OpenAI started as a foundation in San Francisco in 2015. Well-known tech entrepreneurs like Elon MuskPeter Thiel, Reid Hoffman and Sam Altman gave a total of one billion dollars to achieve one goal: to develop artificial intelligence that “benefits all of mankind”, as the statute says.

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Elon Musk left in 2018 because of the carmaker he runs Tesla even developed an AI. A year later there was a turning point: The foundation ran out of money because computing capacity and the corresponding specialists are expensive. It was also not easy to bring experts to the foundation – after all, they beckon Google or meta high salaries and stock options.

Who owns OpenAI?

Therefore, a for-profit subsidiary was formed, led by founder Altman. All employees of the foundation received shares, Microsoft invested a billion dollars, and venture capitalists such as Khosla Venture or the foundation of LinkedIn founder Hoffman came on board.

Today, OpenAI is one of the most valuable startups in the world, valued at $29 billion USA. The participations are regulated in a complicated way in order to do justice to the structure of the foundation. According to various US tech media Microsoft 49 percent of the company, the other investors together also come to 49 percent. The Foundation owns the remaining two percent.

What does ChatGPT stand for?

The name stands for “Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer”, which OpenAI released at the end of November. The chatbot is based on a machine learning model that understands human input and responds in a natural-sounding way. The chatbot can write poems, summarize texts or even program.

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ChatGPT is based on the GPT language model, which was trained with huge amounts of data. It is a so-called Large Language Model (LLM), which has over 175 billion parameters and 800 gigabytes of storage capacity in the GPT 3.5 version.

What can the new GPT-4 do?

OpenAI launched the new language model in mid-March 2023. Technical details such as the number of parameters were not published. According to the start-up, GPT-4 is superior to the previous version in many areas. It is said to be 40 percent better at reporting facts than GPT-3.5 and 82 percent less likely to respond to unauthorized requests.

In addition to text, GPT-4 can also use images or audio as an input source; it is a “Multimodal Large Language Model” (MLLM). For example, GPT-4 recognizes a napkin in a photo. If it says to code a specific website, the AI ​​can do that too. “However, I cannot always guarantee that GPT-4 will produce accurate or working code,” comments the AI.

In addition, GPT-4 analyzes and writes texts four times as long with around 24,000 words. There are also innovations such as a “system message”. With it, users of the AI ​​can prescribe a precise usage or usage style. The AI ​​could thus be used as a tutor, for example, which is tailored to a specific student with certain specifications such as learning goals or areas of support.

How does ChatGPT work?

The model works on the principle of reinforcement learning. The program independently develops a strategy in several stages, which is controlled with “rewards”. This can be positive or negative feedback, monitored and given by humans in the early stages. At the highest level, the program optimizes itself with the so-called “Proximal Policy Optimization” (PPO).


However, the model can only be as good as the data. For example, if there are racist prejudices, the program will also reproduce them. To avoid this, the developers of OpenAI used a “moderation filter” that hasn’t done badly so far.

How can I open ChatGPT?

Anyone can ChatGPT after signing up use for free. Microsoft has also announced that it wants to integrate ChatGPT into the Bing search engine. He also wants the Office applications Expand the group with AI-supported assistants based on GPT-4.

Is ChatGPT free?

The basic version of ChatGPT is free of charge. Due to the great interest, however, the website often goes to its knees. Therefore, the AI ​​should get a paid version called ChatGPT Plus. It is to guarantee customers access for $20 a month and provide faster response timesexplained OpenAI.

In addition, new functions should be available there earlier than in the basic version. The service will initially be launched in the USA, but will be expanded to other countries in the future. The free basic access will be continued.

What can you do with ChatGPT?

Anyone who makes it into the program can use ChatGPT to create texts that read eloquently and structured and could be from a journalist or a writer. It can understand sentences of up to 1500 words.

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The chatbot is so good that it would pass the MBA exam at the US elite university Wharton – with the grade “two minus”, as Professor Christian Terwiesch recently wrote in a study. The explanations were “excellent”.

Can ChatGPT 3 German?

ChatGPT can also translate and speaks several languages. However, German has problems with punctuation and grammar, and the sentences are sometimes long and convoluted.

The potential is still enormous. ChatGPT could potentially change everyday work in many industries. Microsoft wants to integrate the AI ​​tool into its Bing search engine, which would then function in a completely new way. Users can then make search queries as if they were a human and receive whole answers instead of a list of links.

What are the disadvantages of ChatGPT?

The developers attach great importance to not giving any wrong, misleading or harmful answers. However, there are numerous examples where users have managed to do just that. In the “Historical Figures” app, which uses ChatGPT, users can converse with Jesus or the Beatles – but recently also with Adolf Hitler and other dictators.

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However, compared to other chatbots, ChatGPT is much better at avoiding stereotypes. What is always missing are sources, and the program does not provide any probabilities for its statements.

Basically, caution is always advisable: ChatGPT often gives wrong answers with great eloquence and authority. It falls for trick questions, obscure subjects are particularly a problem. Current questions are also taboo because the program was only trained with data up to the end of 2021. The program answers questions like the 2022 World Cup, but they are speculation.

What is the OpenAI API?

API stands for “Application Programming Interface” and is a programming interface. Developers could use this to integrate applications from OpenAI into their app without having to apply to the company, as was previously the case.

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OpenAI used to be very reluctant to do so, fearing incorrect information campaigns, spam or fraud. But in 2021 the company changed its stance, according to its own statements, built in enough security mechanisms such as “content filters” and released API. But anyone who violates conditions such as the ban on sexual content will be kicked out.

Which software for AI is still available?

There’s a whole range of offerings, each with strengths and weaknesses. For example, OpenAI offers Dall-E, the create images from text descriptions on command. The program is based on the AI ​​system GPT and is no longer free of charge – it should cost around 40 euros per month.

An alternative is Bloom, which is the only program trained on more data than GPT with 176 billion parameters. It masters 46 languages ​​and 13 programming languages. The open-source software is freely available and particularly valuable in rare languages ​​like Swahili. It can summarize or translate text and was trained on data up to July 2022. However, you have to pay for the cloud service at $40 an hour.

Given the hype surrounding ChatGPT, rumors are mounting that Google will soon follow suit. The Internet group has been working on the so-called “Language Model for Dialogue Applications” (Lamda) for some time. This is already used in the “AI Test Kitchen” app, which only runs on Android smartphones and is only available to a small extent.

More: How convincing is a ChatGPT application?

First publication: 01/24/2023, 5:02 p.m. (last updated: 03/20/2023, 3:00 p.m.).

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