When we use a tool like ChatGPT, it is easy to believe that we are actually communicating with an intelligence. You type something, and the computer responds quickly with a natural language that feels human. You ask about anything, and ChatGPT responds almost immediately in a confident manner. It’s like the computer is intelligent, but it’s not.

Because what it is about is a very advanced form of pattern recognition. ChatGPT has no real understanding of its surroundings. However, it has been trained on a large number of texts written by humans. In this way, ChatGPT has become very good at putting together a text that resembles other texts and is good at predicting exactly which word it should place after another word.

When you use ChatGPT, it is easy to get this feeling that it is intelligent and that there is some thinking behind it. But the technology is designed precisely to generate a text that sounds reasonable. Then it’s very easy to mistake it for facts, who works with AI issues at the Institute for Future Studies.

ChatGPT is a language model. It predicts words and is good at imitating the shape of human writing. But one should not take what is written for facts. It mimics human texts, but has no built-in capacity for source criticism or truth.

The AI tools also have no way of learning from anything other than the data you feed it. In the strict sense, then, the AI systems are not particularly intelligent. ChatGPT and other similar systems are examples of so-called specified or narrow AI. They are AI tools that are created and trained to do one or a few things very well.

These AI systems are also completely limited by the data that has been used in the machine learning. An example would be if we taught an AI to recognize pictures of cats, but only trained it on cats that are yellow. Then the system cannot learn on its own that some cats are also black.

Today, we would rather call the classic science fiction description of AI AGI – Artificial General Intelligence. It is an intelligence that, just like a human being, can learn completely new things with the help of a range of different sensory impressions. An AGI could perform just about any intellectual task, and is also usually associated with qualities such as reason and self-awareness.

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