Jan 24, 2023 - Technology

What's next for ChatGPT

Illustration of circles, arrows, and wavy lines

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For all the talk about the power of ChatGPT, Dall-E 2 and the like, the generative AI era is only at its inception. Here's what's coming down the road.

The applications will get much more specific. As powerful as it is, ChatGPT and its art-generating peers are generic. The real power, many say, will come as businesses combine such AI tools with their own data.

A company like BMW would be able to merge real images of its logo and cars with the output of a tool like Dall-E to create commercials at a fraction of the cost.

  • Or studios like Disney could apply generative technology to develop an endless array of sequels, spin-offs or games built around their existing universe of characters. Today's AI couldn't complete such projects, but it can provide endless shortcuts.

Regulation around the world will accelerate. Right now, there’s no AI-specific regulation in place in the U.S., despite increased attention from federal agencies, the White House and Congress.

  • Europe is working on an AI Act, but in an interview with Axios, European Parliament member Eva Maydell said regulators are still working to identify the goals, and specific rules remain far off. The U.S. and Europe both feel some urgency to get on the same page about AI as China advances its own uses of the technology.
  • In the U.S. regulators and lawmakers have floated everything from regulating the use of algorithms, to a new agency to regulate AI, to using existing discrimination laws to hold companies accountable.
  • “We can harness and regulate A.I. to create a more utopian society or risk having an unchecked, unregulated A.I. push us toward a more dystopian future,” wrote Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) in a New York Times op-ed Monday.

The hype is going to get crazy. The excitement around ChatGPT and generative AI is real, but the tech industry loves to go overboard. With the tech economy in retreat, every struggling company and fledgling startup is eager to hop on a bandwagon.

  • Already Axios' inboxes (and every other newsroom's) are filled with lookalike pitches pegged to the trend.
  • Plus, ChatGPT itself can be used to generate more hype. That creates a greater need for smart journalists who can separate fact from fiction — assuming the technology hasn't already put them out of work.

Go deeper:

How ChatGPT became the next big thing

What ChatGPT can't do

Newsrooms reckon with AI following CNET saga

Why Microsoft is betting big on ChatGPT

The chatter around ChatGPT

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