opinion | ChatGPT: the first signs of machine intelligence?

Posted January 27, 2023, 4:45 pm

Trained as an engineer specializing in electronics, I had the chance to start programming on the venerable TI57 at the age of 13 and experience the tremendous advances in computing power over the past three decades with engineers of my generation. Today, the power of a Python program on a modern machine is amazing, even considering that it is an interpreted language and therefore slower.

On the other hand, despite these gains in power, another promise of computing has been rather slow to develop: artificial intelligence. After some promising beginnings based on neural networks, we have to admit that we are stagnating. Recently, automatons have become more sophisticated and the performance of Siri or Alexa is surprising. But they remain automatons reproducing one of the millions or billions of learned patterns…not smart!

Building a solution

These automatons useful for everyday life, our new armrests, do not fit Larousse’s definition of intelligence: “The human ability to adapt to situations, to choose the means of action appropriate to the circumstances: this work requires a minimum of intelligence.”. Humans aside, our automatons lack the understanding of adaptation and creativity essential to intelligence.

OpenAI and ChatGPT suddenly show a completely different face. Besides the ability of these engines to read and respond to natural language—admittedly still with imperfect spelling, but better than our 4th graders—the real innovation is in its ability to literally generate an answer and even construct a solution.

Writing poems

At first you will be impressed by his conversational skills, his ability to synthesize what appears on the web, the way he constructs the answer (problem definition, discussion, synthesis), which one suspects is somewhat “programmatically” driven. ‘, but objectively, despite the incompleteness of his youth, he proved to be of good quality. Also, every answer is original and not a lambda copy/paste or any recycled thread.

Even more impressive, ChatGPT knows how to write poetry! Not yet a great poet, but a real creation. He also knows how to write computer programs, although there are no models.

An important turning point in the history of artificial intelligence

So these responses strictly fit the definition of intelligence: adaptation and creation. And this is even on a topic that is not the most trivial and is practiced by well-trained technicians and engineers. And then, this ability literally makes us dizzy: the machine programs the machine, thereby creating its own autonomy and its own evolution. The machine programs the machine and it starts running away from us. Intelligence evidence?

Then I think of all those science fiction movies where machines rule the world by enslaving humans or create a new form of intelligence that humans have to live with. And the philosophical, moral and political issues that come with all this. We are not there! But it is no exaggeration to say that we are at an important turning point in the field of artificial intelligence and its use… and applications.

Customer relationship

What short-term applications in customer relations? The first, of course, is to replace old bots (bots that are more annoying than useful) with a friendly chatbot that will have a better chance of finding a relevant solution to the problem at hand.

The second is a significant improvement in the human/machine interfaces of our customer relationship software. While Siri or Alexa only activates built-in functions, we can now consider designing an original technical response to a new query expressed in natural language.


This is especially true for software dedicated to customer experience, where the segment search and expression is literally a small script that the machine knows how to write usefully (for example, “We’re looking for customers who spent more than 40 euros last time”). ay in the Books department and without my valid email’).

So yes, it will take a few more years for these new interfaces to appear and become serviceable, but for the first time it seems possible. The first day of the machine revolution?

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