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This week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella used street food to demonstrate the power of artificial intelligence. At a leadership summit in Mumbai, Nadella fired up ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot, and asked it to recommend the best street food in Mumbai. ChatGPT returned over ten responses, with vada pav on top. Next in line were pav bhaji, bhel puri, dahi puri and Mumbai sandwich. What followed was a turf war among the most popular street foods of Mumbai: prompts were given, plays were written and an audience full of eminent CEOs was soon in splits. But for Nadella & Co, this is serious business–Microsoft has invested $1 billion in OpenAI, the research lab that has built ChatGPT. And in a few week’s time, ChatGPT will be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine to generate not a set of links–but actual answers to questions. So the next time you ask for the “Best Places to Eat in London”, you won’t have to sift through a page full of links. You will instead get a set of recommendations from across the internet, curated by artificial intelligence. But can you trust them at all? Let’s back up a bit…
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot by Open AI, an AI research laboratory based in San Francisco. The bot can respond in a conversational tone and is known to produce humanlike responses to prompts.
How does it work?
In technical terms, the ChatGPT bot is a Large Language Model (LLM), which is an AI tool fed with huge amounts of data to read, summarise and translate texts. It can also predict the word that is meant to follow a word to make a sentence. This means that such a tool can write entire paragraphs and essays on a given topic.
What makes ChatGPT special is its ability to sound human. This is possible because the tool was trained with Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF): Human AI trainers provided the model with conversations in which they played both sides—the user as well as the AI assistant. This enabled the bot to learn from human feedback, so that now it can understand human intent in a prompt or question to give more relevant and conversational answers. The ranking at the summit was followed by a prompt by Nadella to write a script where a vada pav argues its case of being the best street food against pav bhaji and bhel puri. And the model came through!
While the vada pav is enjoying its superlative status in Mumbai, we ask ChatGPT about the best street food in the world. Here’s what it recommends: