Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic and the hottest of hot topics is Open AI’s new chatbot ChatGPT.

In case you are wondering, GPT stands for its ‘Generative Pre-trained Transformer’. Quite a mouthful, but essentially, it’s an app  that you can hold conversations with. It’s smart, it remembers what you’ve said and it learns.

Chatbots have been around for a while as cute curiosities that mimic conversations. The first was ‘Eliza’ developed in the 60s. Until recently they were very limited in what they could do and not very useful. Not anymore.

Ask ChatGPT to produce a 500 word summary of Daylesford and here’s what it comes up with in less than 10 seconds.

Daylesford is a small town located in the Central Highlands region of Victoria, Australia. The history of Daylesford dates back to the mid-19th century when gold was discovered in the area, leading to a gold rush and the development of the town.

The first European settlers in the area were prospectors searching for gold, and by the 1860s, Daylesford had become a thriving town with a population of over 10,000 people. The town was known for its rich gold deposits and many miners flocked to the area to try their luck. The gold rush brought prosperity to the town and allowed for the development of infrastructure, such as roads, schools, and shops.

In the late 19th century, Daylesford became a popular holiday destination for wealthy Melbourne residents, who sought refuge from the city’s heat during the summer months. The town was known for its scenic beauty and its many mineral springs, which were believed to have therapeutic properties. As a result, many of the town’s grand Victorian-era buildings and spa complexes were built during this time.

In the early 20th century, the gold rush began to subside and the town’s population declined. However, Daylesford’s popularity as a holiday destination continued to grow, and the town became known for its natural beauty, spa culture, and healing waters. Many of the town’s historic buildings were preserved, and the town became a popular tourist destination.

In the mid-20th century, Daylesford became a center for alternative lifestyles and spiritual pursuits. Many artists, writers, and spiritual seekers were drawn to the town, and it became known as a center for bohemian culture. This attracted a new wave of visitors to the town, and many artists and writers established themselves in the area.

In recent years, Daylesford has become known for its thriving food and wine culture, with many local farmers and producers providing fresh, local ingredients to the town’s many restaurants and cafes. The town’s scenic beauty, historic buildings, and natural springs continue to attract visitors from around the world, and it remains a popular holiday destination.

You can follow up with questions on the influence of Swiss Italian migrants or the local indigenous people and it will give you coherent and detailed answers.

Not surprisingly, high school and university teachers are worried. Ask ChatGPT to calculate the hypotenuse of a right triangle with two sides of 2 and 3 cms and here’s what it produces almost instantly.

The length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle can be calculated using the Pythagorean theorem, which states that the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides.

Given two sides with lengths 2 cm and 3 cm, we can calculate the length of the hypotenuse as follows:

c = sqrt(a^2 + b^2) = sqrt(2^2 + 3^2) = sqrt(4 + 9) = sqrt(13) = approximately 3.6 cm

So, the length of the hypotenuse is approximately 3.6 cm.

Open AI also has a program that can generate images from text called DALL-E (named for Salvador Dali). Here’s what it produced when we asked for an image of Daylesford in the style of Van Gogh. It generated the image completely from scratch.

Specialised AI tools are already widespread in manufacturing, transport, finance and health care. This includes self driving cars, models to predict stock prices and clinical guidance support to produce better diagnoses and treatment.

The next big change is coming. Soon AI tools will be used widely by the general population in everyday life in the same way as Google is today.

Already more that 13 million people are using ChatGPT every day and it is still only in the development phase.

Where search engines like Google give you a list of alternative websites to a simple search request to help you find information or answer a question, ChatGPT will give you the answer. It can help you find information, generate plans, and summarise topics. You can ask it to prepare a 10 day holiday itinerary for Japan based around the Kumano Kodo Walk, a recipe for salad nicoise or recommend books on byzantine art. More than that, you can have a discussion with ChatGPT to consider options and alternatives on the topics you are considering.

With opportunity comes risk and the potential for abuse. Already there are concerns about job losses, privacy violations, deep fakes and built in discrimination and bias. All real problems, but unlikely to be serious enough to prevent the massive transformation that is coming over the horizon. Watch this space.