A Word Calculator…What is GPT?

How Will It Improve the World? How Will It Not?

a humanoid computer from the 90’s playing chess digital art, DALL-E

When I was 12, my dad took some math classes at our community college.  The advanced material required a new calculator.  One night, he pulled me over to his homework table, “Look at this!”  He typed an equation, pressed enter, and a squiggly line darted from left to right like when the patient gets zapped back to life in an ER episode.  “Ba-Bump, Ba-Bump” my dad made sound effects as the line bent up and down across the screen.

At the time, I didn’t know what a sine curve was.  It didn’t matter.  The output was exciting.

Y=sin(x^2) …exciting was relative, pre-YoutTube

Years later, I took those same classes. The green LCD screens had become as ubiquitous in math as pencils.  Now I know what sine is.  I still don’t know how a TI-83 calculates it.  What happens in that black box when you press enter?  

If cryptocurrency was the conversation of 2022 (is that finally behind us?), GPT will be the conversation of 2023.  Perhaps you need a primer: GPT is a calculator for text.

What is GPT?

GPT (short for “Generative Pre-training Transformer”) is a type of artificial intelligence model that is used for natural language processing tasks such as language translation, summarization, question answering, and language generation. It is a deep learning model that was developed by OpenAI, and it is designed to be able to learn and generate human-like text.

I didn’t write that.  I typed “What is GPT?” into OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and it generated that output. 

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