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ChatGPT: three steps to master this AI tool

OpenAI logo seen on screen with ChatGPT website displayed on mobile seen in this illustration, on January 8, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence application with a wide range of articulation. Photo: Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool able to produce thousands of words of human-like content in seconds. Yahoo Finance UK looks at some of the ways users can best harness the potential of this new technology.

Using deep learning algorithms to understand the intentions of human users, ChatGPT can provide accurate and nuanced responses and can being used to speed up writing and coding tasks usually done by humans.

So, being able to use it could soon become a necessary skill.

At present, the basic version of ChatGPT is completely free to use, but there is currently a waiting list to get access to the app.

Read more: ChatGPT: What you need to know about the most talked about AI tool

Creators OpenAI have announced the launch of a professional version called ChatGPT Professional, but have yet to give details of subscription costs and the advantages of going premium.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence application with a wide range of articulation. It is able to create haiku, jokes, corporate emails, business plans, fix computer code, write academic essays and even piece of original fiction in the style of any writer you want, from Joyce and Dostoyevsky, to Shakespeare.

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Many have raised concerns that the new technology could render human creativity redundant, whilst others have voiced their dismay at the amount of hype generated across social and mass media platforms that may exaggerate the new app's potential.

To get a measure of the disruptive potential of the new application, and the most effective ways to use it, Yahoo Finance UK asked Sam Szuchan, Linkedin creator and founder of SamSzu.com, for three tips that users can incorporate to improve their ChatGPT experience.

1. Understand what ChatGPT can and can't do

ChatGPT is very good at certain tasks, such as debugging lines of code, rewriting a paragraph, social media posts or generating data in a table. But the application trips up when asked to output independent, long-form original content.

Szuchan said: "First it is important to understand what ChatGPT is. While many people seem convinced it's the Oracle a la The Matrix, it's essentially just a massive data aggregator.

"This means your goal with prompting isn't to speak to consult with a superintelligence a la Matrix Revolutions but to direct it as effectively as possible to present the exact information you want, which leads us to the second point, the context."

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Szuchan added that ChatGPT is not qualified to produce any content independently, it is in effect a very sophisticated mimic of content that is already available online.

He said: "It is bad at content longer than a few sentences and generates text in a highly-recognisable cadence.

"It's most effectively used as an assistant and for ideation ⁠— ask it for ideas, paste in your content and ask what to write next, but for goodness' sake, do not copy and paste its output."

2. Writing effective prompts

The instructions and conversations that a user has with ChatGPT are referred to as prompts.

Prompts can be short sentences or long, paragraph length instructions explaining what the user is seeking to produce.

It is important to remember that ChatGPT is only as good as the prompts it is given.

It is important to word prompts in a way that the tool can understand. So, how do we create prompts that can generate the most effective and accurate outputs?

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"Every ChatGPT prompt is a newborn baby. This means that, as you would with a child, you need to explain all the context in as much detail as possible since children are famously ignorant, and ChaptGPT is no different," Szuchan said.

Prompts need to be precise and clear, avoiding long sentences with many subpoints. Short sentences that are easy to understand work best.

Szuchan added that asking ChatGPT specific questions and including lots of context increases the changes of getting a more satisfactory response.

3. Writing follow-up prompts

The AI uses follow-up prompts that can be inputted after each answer to obtain more information and improve its later answers.

Interacting with ChatGPT using multiple follow-up prompts can produce an almost human-like conversation where the user and the AI work together through action and reaction to produce the most satisfactory response.

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Szuchan said: "The follow-up is ChatGPT's greatest feature, and could be a threat to internet search engines by itself."

He added: "When inputting a follow-up you can ask ChatGPT to give more context, correct a mistake, or do anything your heart desires. Effectively follow-ups are as essential as prompts for effectively extracting information from this behemoth data aggregator."

Warning over accuracy

ChatGPT’s popularity has shaken Google (GOOG), which reportedly considers it a threat to the company’s search engine.

Microsoft (MSFT) is reportedly hoping to integrate ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, where it could work as a front end to Bing that answers people’s queries in natural language.

This type of AI-powered search engine could allow users to ask the internet something, but instead of getting a list of links, the user gets a complete paragraph with the answer.

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However, there are concerns about the accuracy of the responses that ChatGPT responds with. According to CNBC, executives at Google say the technology is still too immature to put in front of users, citing that responses are loaded with chatbot bias and contain frequent inaccuracies and factual errors.

Szuchan said: "No matter your prompt, accidental misinformation is an inescapable flaw of ChatGPT, which OpenAI loudly warns about.

"It's entirely up to the user to fact-check everything it says, which is why I'm looking forward to a chatbot that cites sources."

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