ChatGPT turns 1 today: Here’s how it made AI mainstream

ChatGPT launched one year ago Thursday, changing the way we think about and interact with artificial intelligence.

The ease of using the OpenAI chatbot as a consumer-facing tool led to an “arms race” among the tech giants to quickly roll out competitor bots, brought terms like “large language model” into the mainstream, and sparked calls for AI development to slow down and think about how the tech could be used in harmful or biased ways.

While tech companies have been working on advanced AI models behind the scenes for years, ChatGPT achieved a ”user experience breakthrough,” allowing people who have never interacted with AI to use it in a relatively simple and conversational way, a researcher at Booz Allen Hamilton told TechCrunch. A year later, news coverage is full of superlatives about the bot’s impact. It’s ”changed the public conversation about science and technology,” the president of the Museum of Science in Boston said. That exposure drew close scrutiny of its drawbacks, including its tendency to lie in its responses or promote biases.

ChatGPT’s impact on the workplace has been a leading story line since its release, with study after study concluding that it had the ability to impact millions of jobs across nearly every industry. In Spain, where a study found that 80% of local workers predict impacts from AI, the perception that jobs are at risk could lead to a “movement of resistance to change" against bringing in new tech, according to an op-ed in the paper Cinco Días. Dozens of major companies have integrated AI into their work systems, but it’s still too early to say how exactly the bot will impact worker productivity and jobs in the long term, Marketplace reported. Some of the people who have been impacted include copywriters for marketing and social media and Kenyan freelancers who write essays for U.S. college students.

Where do ChatGPT and OpenAI go from here? The last two weeks have been marked by drama in which OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired and then re-hired for reasons that still remain unclear. The tech itself has ”evolved at such a rapid pace that the original now seems almost quaint,” Axios wrote. No one knows exactly where we’re headed, but The Verge’s David Piece predicts that “the next 12 months of the AI industry will move even faster than the last 12,” as competitors like Google, Meta, and Amazon continue to roll out products. Be on the lookout especially for AI-centric gadgets.