Nothing is happening in AI and ML right now...

Jan 12, 2023

Well, well, well, what do we have here? Another trend report on the exciting world of Artificial Intelligence? Oh boy, I can hardly contain my excitement. I mean, let's face it, nothing interesting at all has happened in the world of AI recently, nope, nothing at all. Just kidding, of course. AI is a constantly evolving field, and there's always something new and exciting happening.

One area of AI that has been making waves recently is the field of language generation, and more specifically, the development of GPT-3 based models. GPT-3, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, is a state-of-the-art language generation model developed by OpenAI. The model has been trained on an enormous dataset of text, and it is able to generate human-like text with remarkable coherence and fluency. The results are so impressive, in fact, that some people have even dubbed GPT-3 the "AI writing assistant."

ChatGPT is a variation of GPT-3. It's designed to generate more natural, conversational text. It can understand the context of what is being said, allowing it to respond in a more human-like way. This ability makes ChatGPT a powerful tool for tasks such as chatbots, conversational AI, and language translation. With ChatGPT, you can generate text that reads as if it were written by a human, in most of the cases even more coherent and natural than text written by a human.

In this article, we will take a closer look at ChatGPT and explore its potential use cases and implications for a wide range of industries. From automating customer service chatbots to helping write news articles, ChatGPT is set to have a big impact on the way we interact with language-based technology in the future. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as we delve into the world of ChatGPT.

This opening section, of course, was entirely written by ChatGPT, responding to the prompt:

Write an intro to chatgpt for a TechLab trend report article, it should be conversational, some sarcasm and humour is ok, for example "noting interesting at all has happened in the world of AI recently, nope nothing at all". Trend report articles generally are informational for academics and university staff in fields other than technology.

ChatGPT is just one of many tools that have emerged in recent months, but it has certainly been one of the most discussed. From its use to refine and obfuscate malicious code, improve viruses to avoid detection, and advice on how to create explosives to undertake acts of terrorism. Though Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT, has taken steps in recent weeks to curb the "exploits" that grant access to more pernicious responses.

Indeed, the capacity for fun with the system is near limitless. I have had it developing content for emails, communications, of course this article, but also more creative endeavours like:

A Truly beautiful sonnet.
The capability of ChatGPT is truly biblical in scale

I also decided to use it for my own benefit in salary negotiations and came up with the following :

please stand up

One of the benefits of ChatGPTs model is that it remembers all the things that you ask it. I wasn't happy with the rap above because I don't work in sales, so I provided it some more context:

Ok your move Sanjay

I'll include a comprehensive gallery of other examples below, I have used it to write code, come up with business ideas, rewrite segments of text, come up with copy and monologues for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign, to generate a walking tour around Tokyo which I then asked it to convert to a leaflet.js map of points of interest and many more. Suffice to say for lots of tasks, ChatGPT will revolutionise your life, but it is important that you acknowledge the big elephant in the room. ChatGPT doesn't actually know what the truth is, but it will confidently tell you that it knows.

Points for confidence.

A warning for language, but the academic paper "On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bull$#!t" sums it up nicely:

“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bull$#!t requires no such conviction.” – Harry Frankfurt

ChatGPT doesn't know the answer, so it can't lie. It just sometimes spouts bull crap. Behind the scenes, of course, we know that ML models of this nature generally have a confidence or uncertainty measure, and in future iterations this may be available to the consumer, but as of now you don't know when you are being told the truth, or a rough approximation of it. ChatGPT is currently free, so is attracting a lot of attention as people test it and push its limits, which can only lead to a better product in the long run, but it isn't the only AI tool that is making waves right now.

Generative Art is an area that is currently receiving mixed reviews. The quality of the outputs is unarguably marvellous, but the ethics of the model training leave a lot to be questioned. At the very least, you sometime see a ghostly signature on the generated image, at worst it's a direct copy. Among the best of the current offering is Midjourney, able to generate in a multitude of styles and at acceptable print resolutions, and delivered through a Discord bot that allows for generation of images anywhere. It is not limited by style and can master some very complex themes and narrative elements.

A photo of a University student in an exam, facing the camera, panicking about plagiarism in their test
4 options for product design and packaging for a bachelors degree from a prestigious university.

For work in presentations or to communicate inspiration with a designer or artist, this tool is incredibly powerful and has formed a large part of how I describe locations for my Dungeons and Dragons game as well as discussions with my tattoo artist about what styles I'm interested in, but at this stage I think it's best to avoid commercial applications, despite the licence allowing it.

In the last 3 months we have tried over 100 different AI tools across a huge range of areas, from Text to Speech, to Text to Video, to Music, to Translation and more, and each is worthy of its own Trend report article... but you can find an ever-growing list at, but it's by no means exhaustive.

While Language Generation and Image Generation seem to be the most present, the coming year will be both exciting and terrifying as the machines start to take over. As we look towards the future, it will be interesting to see how these AI-powered  tools continue to evolve and how they will be used in various industries. It's exciting to think about all the possibilities, but it's also important to remember to tread carefully and use these tools for the betterment of humanity.

Jim Cook

Manager of Digital Innovation and Strategy—Jim works closely across the University community to provide significant and positive research and teaching outcomes for the University.

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