Some call ChatGPT technology’s biggest disruptor in decades. Others refer to the chatbot prototype as the tipping point for artificial intelligence.
One thing is clear: ChatGPT isn’t going away. In fact, it has demonstrated an ability to get smarter—fast.
Last November, research lab OpenAI gave the public free access to a trained large language model called ChatGPT which interacts with users through conversation. A generative pre-trained transformer, the chatbot generates text like a human. In dialogue, ChatGPT can answer questions and follow-up questions, debug code, reject inappropriate requests and admit its mistakes. Its latest iteration, GPT-4, was released earlier this month and with it came a giant leap in natural language processing.
The model has taken off, clocking 100 million users in two months after its launch, sending AI developers and investors into a frenzy. Swiss Bank UBS predicts the AI market will grow to $90 billion by 2025, a 20 percent compound annual growth rate.
Students are using the software to write essays and research topics, prompting universities and colleges to ponder rules about academic integrity. Marketing firms have also experimented with the bot, and tech experts expect it to touch all aspects of life. Workers worry whether jobs are next. Proponents of the technology suggest that AI will help, not hurt labor, increasing productivity.
“ChatGPT and other recently released generative AI models hold the promise of automating all sorts of tasks that were previously thought to be solely in the realm of human creativity and reasoning, from writing to creating graphics to summarizing and analyzing data. That has left economists unsure how jobs and overall productivity might be affected,” writes David Rotman in MIT Technology Review.
Despite ChatGPT’s quick rise, it is still early for speculation.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman warns: “ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. it’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. it’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”
The Rochester Beacon decided to quiz ChatGPT about Rochester. The bot’s answers are below.
ROCHESTER BEACON: What are the most important things you know about the Greater Rochester area?
ChatGPT: The Greater Rochester, New York area is known for its rich history, education, and innovation. Key aspects include:
■ Economy: Historically, Rochester was a major manufacturing hub, known for companies like Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb. Today, its economy has diversified with a focus on healthcare, education, and technology.
■ Education: The area is home to several higher education institutions, including the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology. These institutions contribute significantly to research, innovation, and the local economy.
■ High Falls and Genesee River: The 96-foot High Falls is a picturesque waterfall on the Genesee River, which runs through the city. The Genesee Riverway Trail offers beautiful views and recreational opportunities.
■ Culture: Rochester boasts a vibrant arts scene, with notable institutions like the George Eastman Museum, Memorial Art Gallery, and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
■ Festivals: Rochester hosts various events throughout the year, such as the Lilac Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, and the High Falls Women’s Film Festival, attracting thousands of visitors annually.
■ Innovation: The region has a history of innovation, including the development of the first digital camera and xerographic copying process. Today, the area fosters entrepreneurship through incubators and accelerators.
■ Food: The local cuisine includes the famous “Garbage Plate,” a combination of various foods like home fries, macaroni salad, and meat, topped with a spicy sauce.
ROCHESTER BEACON: What are the three biggest challenges facing Greater Rochester today and what are some potential solutions you recommend to solve them?
ChatGPT: Economic Diversification: Rochester’s traditional industries, such as manufacturing, have declined, resulting in job losses and economic stagnation. To address this, the region should invest in new sectors like technology, green energy, and healthcare, while supporting entrepreneurship and innovation through business incubators, accelerators, and public-private partnerships.
Poverty and Inequality: Rochester faces high poverty rates and socio-economic disparities. Solutions include investing in affordable housing, improving access to quality education, and developing job training programs tailored to the needs of the local economy. Additionally, partnerships with community organizations can help create support networks for vulnerable populations and address issues related to mental health and substance abuse.
Infrastructure and Transportation: Aging infrastructure and limited public transportation options hinder economic development and access to resources. Upgrading and modernizing infrastructure, expanding public transportation networks, and promoting alternative transportation modes (e.g., biking, walking) can enhance mobility and connectivity. Leveraging federal and state funding, as well as private investments, can help finance these improvements.
ROCHESTER BEACON: At schools and universities around Greater Rochester there is significant concern that the rise of ChatGPT and similar AI programs will lead to academic cheating by students and will harm the educational progress of students. Is this concern justified?
ChatGPT: The concern about AI programs like ChatGPT contributing to academic cheating and potentially harming educational progress is justified to an extent. Students might use AI tools to complete assignments, generate essays, or solve problems without fully understanding the underlying concepts or developing critical thinking skills.
However, it is important to recognize that AI tools can also be valuable educational resources when used responsibly. They can help students with research, enhance understanding of complex topics, and promote collaboration.
To mitigate the risks of academic dishonesty and ensure AI tools contribute positively to education, several steps can be taken:
■ Educators should promote academic integrity by teaching students about the ethical use of AI tools and establish clear guidelines on their use.
■ Implement plagiarism detection software and AI-based monitoring tools to identify and deter cheating attempts.
■ Encourage educators to design assignments and assessments that require students to apply critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills, making it more difficult to cheat using AI.
■ Incorporate AI tools into the curriculum to help students learn how to harness their potential in a responsible and ethical manner.
By taking these measures, schools and universities can strike a balance between leveraging the benefits of AI and maintaining academic integrity.
ROCHESTER BEACON: Many around Greater Rochester have expressed concern that ChatGPT and similar programs will displace and disrupt the jobs of many people. Is that concern justified and which jobs around Greater Rochester are most susceptible to being lost?
ChatGPT: The concern about ChatGPT and similar AI programs disrupting jobs is justified, as AI has the potential to automate various tasks and processes, leading to job displacement in some sectors. However, AI can also create new opportunities and enhance productivity, ultimately benefiting the economy.
In the Greater Rochester area, jobs most susceptible to automation are those involving routine tasks or repetitive processes. Some examples include:
■ Manufacturing: Assembly line workers and machine operators may face displacement as AI and robotics become more prevalent.
■ Retail and Customer Service: Cashiers, sales representatives, and customer service agents could be replaced by automated systems, self-checkout machines, and AI-powered chatbots.
■ Data Entry and Administrative roles: AI can automate data entry tasks, making some clerical and administrative roles less essential.
To address this challenge, the Greater Rochester area should focus on:
■ Reskilling and upskilling workers to transition them into new roles or industries less susceptible to automation.
■ Encouraging education and training in STEM fields and other in-demand areas, such as healthcare and renewable energy.
■ Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, which can create new job opportunities and drive economic growth.
By proactively addressing the potential impacts of AI on the workforce, the Greater Rochester area can mitigate job displacement and capitalize on the opportunities presented by AI technology.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. Publisher Alex Zapesochny contributed to this article. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].