ChatGPT is set to become the most powerful software the world, thanks to plugins

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ChatGPT is now officially set to become the world’s most powerful software, thanks to its new real time, Internet connected “plugins”

This version of ChatGPT’s OpenTable plugin is restricted to just “reading” a restaurant’s availability info. But it’s not a stretch to imagine future versions of the plugin will allow ChatGPT to go ahead and make the reservation itself. (OpenAI)

AS RADICAL AS it was, it wasn’t the iPhone’s innovative all-screen physical design that made it a society-changing phenomenon.

  • It was the App Store.

  • The App Store arguably created or catapulted more new industries (social media, content creation, streaming video, ride sharing, food delivery) than the physical iPhone decimated or destroyed (in-car GPS, digital cameras, physical alarm clocks, flashlights).

  • Well, ChatGPT just pulled “an iPhone.”

  • Wait, actually, that’s an understatement…


  • Here’s how:

  • One of the most consistent knocks on language model chatbots is that they’re trained on a humongous —but finite— cache of information.

  • For instance, ChatGPT’s dataset goes up to 2021 only.

  • Ask it what film won Best Picture Oscar this year and it won’t “know.”

  • As ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI puts it, “ChatGPT is not connected to the Internet, and it can occasionally produce incorrect answers. It has limited knowledge of world and events after 2021 and may also occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content.”

  • Enter ChatGPT plugins.

PLUGINS LET CHATGPT “access up-to-date information, run computations, or use third-party services.”

  • This is a serious game change.

  • Why?

  • To answer this, first zoom out: while language models like ChatGPT are super useful for a really wide range of tasks —like checking legal contracts, coding simple computer programs, or writing Shakespearean-style poetry— these language models are still limited.

  • As mentioned above, they only “know” what they were trained on —and that info can be totally out-of-date.

BUT ALSO ZOOM in: ChatGPT can’t really do anything itself.

  • The only actual action that language models have been designed to do is, well, spit out text answers to your questions and prompts.

  • Language models can’t perform sophisticated calculations, and they can’t action anything on the web.

  • That’s where humans come in: in order to actually do anything, you have to action what ChatGPT suggests.


  • OpenAI describes plugins as the “ ‘eyes and ears’ for language models, giving them access to information that is too recent, too personal, or too specific to be included in the training data.”

  • But plugins can also serve as ChatGPT’s ‘hands’ or ‘voice.’

  • In other words, we will all soon be able to use plugins to request that ChatGPT “perform safe, constrained actions” on our behalf.

  • As the company puts it, this “increas[es] the usefulness of the system overall.”

  • That last sentence might be the understatement of the century.

  • Plugins are about to change the world.

OPENAI IS “GRADUALLY rolling out plugins… so we can study their real-world use, impact,” and safety.

  • The safety part matters.

  • In researching plugins, OpenAI’s own teams “discovered ways for plugins—if released without safeguards—to…send fraudulent and spam emails, bypass safety restrictions, or misuse information.”

BOTTOM LINE: OPENAI says that “plugins will likely have wide-ranging societal implications”

  • Ya think?

  • In the example OpenAI gave, a user asked ChatGPT to make a restaurant recommendation for Saturday, suggest a recipe for Sunday, calculate the ingredient count of the recipe, and start an online grocery order for the suggested recipe.

  • ChatGPT did it all, in one fluid motion.

  • The current (launch) versions of the OpenTable and Instacart plugins require you to actually click through to make the restaurant booking, and order the groceries.

  • But future versions won’t need to wait for you.

  • The world just changed overnight.


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Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Simply reply.

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