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One year of ChatGPT: has it changed the landscape?

November 30 marks the one-year anniversary of the debut of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool, ChatGPT to the public. We look back at our article from that day on what this technology meant for the country, and see if it came true.

Nearly one year ago, the AI-powered chatbot was introduced to the world, opening up unknown opportunities for people.

Since its introduction, ChatGPT has grown at an immense rate, gaining over 100 million users in just over a month, becoming the quickest platform to hit this milestone before Meta’s Threads took the crown seven months later.

At the time the world met OpenAI’s ChatGPT, it was in its third iteration and was most of the world’s first proper introduction to the capabilities of AI.

One year later, everywhere you look AI is thrown around like it is a hot keyword.

In November 2023, the world has a number of AI-powered chatbots including generative image developments based by text prompts like Midjourney and even Adobe.

But the power of AI has grown even further.

In our article one year ago, we talked about what ChatGPT meant for the New Zealand tech industry with Andrew Chen, a Research Fellow in University of Auckland’s Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures.

With a year of AI marination, Chen says that though ChatGPT has taken over, AI-powered technologies have been integrated all over, looking at the likes of search engines such as Bing and Google using chatbot for conversational style queries rather than keyword searches.

“If you go to Google today, you’re still using keyword search, but more and more people are using Bard, which is Google’s offering. The accuracy is still a bit hit-and-miss, but when it’s right, it’s very impressive that it can actually give you the right answer that you’re looking for,” he says.

Based on the past year, Chen says it is very clear that the entire industry’s goal is to make this AI world the norm and capture those issues and bugs now.

Because the goal for the industry is to make this the norm, it is no surprise that the growth trajectory of AI is rapid, with Chen adding that the use has been doubling every quarter in the past year and shows no signs of slowing down.

Already the tech is shaking up several sectors, with focus being pulled towards AI education and policies.

Some sectors, such as the creative side, feel significantly impacted by tools such as generative images, worrying that work may be pulled.

Read more: What does the mainstream AI ChatGPT mean for NZ?

What we’re currently seeing in terms of the capabilities of AI, such as the translation between images and text or audio and text, was not seen a year ago, but is now doing simple tasks that data analysts are doing.

“There’s always a bit of a push and pull with these things and we’ll head towards some form of equilibrium and some form of balance between the people wanting to use it and the people who are worried about it or stopping them from using it,” adds Chen.

In the past year, ChatGPT AI has been used for good, with examples such as a tool that allows users to upload images and can generate alt text, helping people with disabilities.

Chen said last year that the NZ tech industry would face challenges when it comes to integrating with indigenous languages such as Te Reo Māori due to the lack of data, but in 2023 many systems were able to integrate with the language.

“They’ve shown that actually they can get decent performance with Te Reo Māori, it’s not as good as English and it’s not perfect, but there’s a lot better than I thought it would be,” he says.

“Just the breadth of different languages that they’ve actually now got in there is really impressive and you can use it for all sorts of translation purposes. I think that concern that it would never be able to do it is probably fading away.”

Another prediction of his from last year was that the New Zealand government would be in full force using the technology, but now at the end of 2023 though there are specialised groups inside the beehive, the main focus is how to use the tools safely.

Heading into 2024 it is clear that AI and ChatGPT are not going anywhere.

“It is still the hottest technology that they’re talking about at the moment,” says Chen.

OpenAI and ChatGPT are still scoring relatively high in error rate, so it is still recommended to experiment cautiously.

Though many people are facing AI fatigue from the big guns of the industry, there is still much to expect from the smaller guys.

“I probably wouldn’t be looking too much at Google or OpenAI’s plans and more at these small start-ups that are more willing to risk it and do something new.”

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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