What Does ChatGPT AI Mean for the Water Sector?
By Duke Greenhill, Chief Marketing Officer
WHAT IS CHATGPT?
ChatGPT is a natural language processing (NLP) tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with a chatbot. It’s basically a “robot” that can answer questions, and assist you with tasks such as composing emails, essays, and code specifically because it is programmed to sound like a human. The real kicker is that ChatGPT is currently free to the public. Once it completes this initial trial and feedback phase, it will likely no longer be free.
WHO MADE CHATGPT?
ChatGPT was developed by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence and research company whose products include DALLE2, a popular AI art generator, and Whisper, a speech recognition system.
DOES CHATGPT REALLY MATTER RIGHT NOW?
Although the recent launch of Chat GPT has sent the AI business into a frenzy — and although the program strikes a certain sci-fi-esque chord with many, who see it as utterly fresh — not everyone is so convinced. Especially not many of the experts.
“In terms of underlying techniques, ChatGPT is not particularly innovative,” said Yann LeCun, Meta’s (Facebook’s parent company) chief AI scientist. “It’s nothing revolutionary. That’s just the way it’s perceived in the public,” said LeCun. “Such…systems have been built in the past by many companies and research labs. The idea that [ChatGPT] is new or unique is totally inaccurate.”
WHAT MIGHT AI AND CHATGPT MEAN FOR THE WATER SECTOR?
Simple answer: Right now? Very little.
The water sector’s great struggle right now — as evidenced by extremely low public trust ratings nation-wide and 2.2 million Americans still without access to healthy, clean water — is a struggle to humanize an industry, to persuade residents of the true value of water and to deliver that value to all people as a basic human right.
Although AI systems can estimate the composition of contaminants in the water and increase the efficiency of the water treatment plant, and research has already shown that using neural networks for optimizing the traditional controllers can reduce energy cost up to 40%, seeing ChatGPT or AI substantively impact the relationship between the water sector, residents and the value of water itself, remains dubious at this time at best.
The ChatGPT technology was developed in the hopes of creating an AI that could actually succeed at generating natural- (even emotional-) sounding human conversation, but it remains to be seen that ChatGPT can come anywhere close to sounding like a unique, emotional, real human. However, at the rate of improvement in this sector of technology, its likely that one day soon, ChatGPT and AI products like it will be able to mimic our natural, emotional way of speaking. Indeed, it’s only a matter of time.