On March 14, 2022, OpenAI launched its much-anticipated platform, GPT-4, which has proven to be bigger and better than the original ChatGPT platform. It is a multimodal large language model, which in layman’s terms means that it can respond to text and visual input. And it is as scary as it sounds.

Long gone are the days of virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, which were recently described by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as being “all dumb as a rock”.

Applications of GPT-4

Impressively and terrifyingly, the platform can recreate and code the game of Pong within 60 seconds. In terms of text, the platform has achieved results within the 90th percentile when presented with difficult exams, including the US Bar exams, SATs, and AP exams.

In addition, GPT-4 can now understand images as well. For example, if you were to input a photo of the contents of your fridge, the platform could provide you with recipe suggestions based on the items you have to hand. The platform is so good at recognising images, that it can turn a hand-drawn sketch into a code and a functional website.

Recently, investors and big tech players have been placing their bets on generative AI models. Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Google are some of the first companies to deploy GPT-4. Financial services company Stripe also uses the platform to vet out online fraud, while language-learning platform Duolingo is using GPT-4 to create reactive conversations, and NGO Khan Academy is using the platform as a teaching aid for its students.

Interestingly, as Icelandic was chosen as GPT-4’s second language (after English), Iceland has decided to deploy the tech to “preserve the Icelandic language” by improving local language chatbots.

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Although the big fish are not the only ones getting involved. Several start-ups are arming themselves with GPT-4’s genius. The world’s first robot lawyer, DoNotPay, disputes parking tickets using GPT-4.

A flawed technology

However, while there are several good use cases of generative AI, it is important to remember that there can be downfalls to this tech. OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman even tweeted that GPT-4 “is still flawed, still limited, and it still seems more impressive on first use than it does after you spend more time with it”.

Machine learning can be used for multiple nefarious purposes, including mimicking voices or even providing information on how to create DIY weapons. It can also be used to create fake emails, full of misinformation – an issue that is already escalating without the help of AI.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission found 36,000 reports of criminals pretending to be family or friends to swindle individuals. While OpenAI has placed limits on its GPT models, determined testers have proven there are ways around the limits, which can unfortunately be an effective way to manipulate people.

Conversely, OpenAI’s ex-founder, Elon Musk, has criticized the GPT models and is currently exploring launching a less restrictive model that would be a competitor to OpenAI.