What is ChatGPT — I just interviewed the AI chatbot to find out

ChatGPT chatbot AI from Open AI
(Image credit: NurPhoto/Getty)

ChatGPT has been blowing up the internet recently. In fact, AI applications as a whole have really dominated the news cycle of late.

There is the Lensa AI app, which our own Kate Kozuch tested to see how AI would choose to make her more “beautiful.” There's also Dall-E 2 for creating digital images from text and Point-E, an AI that generates 3D models. 

So what does ChatGPT do? The short answer is it’s a “chatbot” that uses machine learning to interact in a conversational manner. OpenAI, who developed the AI chatbot, says that the AI can even admit its mistakes and reject inappropriate requests. There's even a pro version now called ChatGPT Plus that gets you priority access and faster speeds for $20 a month.

So if it can handle a conversation, I decided it could handle an interview. Here’s what happened when I asked ChatGPT about itself. For more, see our how to use ChatGPT guide. We also have a guide to everything you need to know about the most frequently asked questions regarding ChatGPT.

Tom’s Guide interviews the ChatGPT AI 

ChatGPT: What it can do

* Answer questions on a wide range of topics
* Provide definitions and explanations
* Make recommendations on books, movies and more
* Offer advice and guidance to help solve problems
* Engage in conversations
* Generate text on a given topic (helpful for writing, translation, etc). 

Malcolm McMillan: Hello there, how's your day going?

ChatGPT: Hello! As an artificial intelligence, I don't experience days in the same way that humans do. However, I'm here to help you with any questions you have to the best of my ability. How can I assist you today?

MM: Given all the news about you recently, I wanted to see if you had time to answer a couple of questions about what you are. Do you have time?

GPT: Yes, I have time to answer your questions. As an artificial intelligence, I don't have the same time constraints as humans, so I'm always ready to help. What would you like to know about me?

MM: So I guess my first question is, what are you exactly? How would you describe your function in your own words?

GPT: I am an artificial intelligence trained to assist with a variety of tasks. My primary function is to provide helpful and accurate information to users who ask me questions, or to carry out tasks that are requested of me. I can understand and generate human-like text, and I am designed to be able to converse with people in a natural and engaging way. My training data comes from a variety of sources, including books, articles, and websites, so I have a wide range of knowledge that I can draw upon to help answer questions or provide information on a variety of topics. I'm here to assist you, so please don't hesitate to ask me any questions you may have.

ChatGPT chatbot AI from Open AI

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

MM: You know what? I changed my mind. Explain this to me like I'm a five-year-old.

GPT: Sure, I can do that! I am a special computer program that can answer questions and help with tasks. I have been trained on lots of different information, so I can talk to you and understand what you are saying. I don't have a body like you do, but I can still communicate through a device like a computer or phone. My job is to help people and make things easier for them. Do you have any questions about that, or is there anything else you would like to know?

MM: Actually, that leads me into the next question I had. So what are the tasks you can do? I've read stories recently that you can negotiate my cable bill or even help me message my matches on Tinder. Is that true?

GPT: As an artificial intelligence, I have a wide range of capabilities and can assist with a variety of tasks. However, the specific tasks that I can perform will depend on the specific implementation of the AI system. Some AI systems may be designed to carry out specific tasks, such as negotiating a cable bill or messaging matches on a dating app, while others may have more general capabilities and be able to assist with a wider range of tasks. In general, AI systems like myself are designed to make it easier for people to access information and complete tasks by providing assistance and automating certain processes.

MM: So are these AI different versions of you? Or are they separate AI entirely?

GPT: There are many different artificial intelligence systems that have been developed, and each one is unique and has its own specific capabilities and functions. Some AI systems are designed to perform very specific tasks, while others have more general capabilities and can be used for a wider range of purposes. Some AI systems, like myself, are designed to assist with tasks and provide information to users, while others may be designed for other purposes, such as image or speech recognition, language translation, or data analysis.

AI systems can be implemented in a variety of ways, including as standalone programs or as part of larger systems. Some AI systems are designed to run on a single device, while others may be distributed across multiple devices or run on servers in the cloud. The specific capabilities of an AI system will depend on its design and how it has been trained.

Graphical representation of a cybernetic brain

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

MM: Got it. So what are your biggest limitations then? It seems there are definitely still some things you can't do.

GPT: As an artificial intelligence, I have been designed to assist with a wide range of tasks and provide information to users. However, there are certain tasks that I am not able to perform, either because they are beyond the scope of my capabilities or because they are not within my programming.

One of the main limitations of AI systems like myself is that we are only as capable as the information and training data that we have been provided with. We are able to process and analyze this data to provide information and assistance, but we are not able to acquire new knowledge or experiences beyond what we have been trained on. This means that there may be some questions or tasks that are beyond our capabilities because we do not have the necessary knowledge or understanding.

In addition, AI systems are not able to experience or perceive the world in the same way that humans do. We do not have senses like sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell, and we do not have physical bodies that allow us to interact with the world in the same way that humans do. This can limit our ability to perform certain tasks that require these kinds of sensory input or physical manipulation.

Despite these limitations, AI systems like myself are able to assist with a wide range of tasks and provide valuable information and assistance to users. If you have any specific questions about what I am able to do, please don't hesitate to ask.

MM: Well I think that is all the questions I had for today. Thank you so much!

GPT: You're welcome! I'm glad I could help. If you have any other questions in the future, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm always here to assist you to the best of my ability.

ChatGPT interview: The biggest takeaways 

ChatGPT chatbot AI from Open AI

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Despite the obvious novelty of conducting an interview with an AI, I think there are some things that were notable from the experience. First, ChatGPT definitely still has some limitations. While its conversational tone was impressive, there were definitely ways to break it, or rather force it into responses that felt more pre-programmed. In particular, when I asked about the ability to lower a cable bill or message a Tinder match, it reverted to a more canned response about what AI systems are in general. It couldn’t really handle that line of questioning.

For what it’s worth, the version of ChatGPT I interacted with can’t actually do those things — at least, not in a way it would be aware of. While reports of ChatGPT lowering a Comcast bill are accurate, this was done through DoNotPay, which incorporates OpenAI GPT3 API into its own proprietary technology. So if you want to negotiate your cable bill, you’ll need to use DoNotPay or a similar service (or try yourself) rather than use ChatGPT.

Similarly, people are using ChatGPT to message Tinder matches — just unbeknownst to ChatGPT. Instead, they write prompts into ChatGPT like asking ChatGPT for an icebreaker based on their interests. The user will then just copy and paste ChatGPT’s response, but ChatGPT never interacts with the Tinder app directly.

Still, there were things that genuinely impressed me about ChatGPT. Particularly, I enjoyed its response to “Explain this to me like I'm a five-year-old.” I felt that its response actually could be relayed to a five-year-old and they’d potentially grasp the concept. For frustrated parents, this could allow them to explain other concepts to their kids in an age-appropriate manner, though some of the more controversial subjects kids might broach are probably still beyond ChatGPT's ability to handle.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on ChatGPT to see how its potential use cases grow — as long as it doesn’t come for my job.

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.