6th December 2023 9:25 am
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ChatGPT gets even more powerful through its latest feature

  • OpenAI has announced that it is launching plugins for ChatGPT.
  • Plugins are small, customisable programmes that allow ChatGPT to perform niche tasks like booking restaurants or searching the web.
  • ChatGPT’s AI can use several plugins simultaneously which will only snowball into building super-powered models capable of just about anything.

Three months deep into 2023 and we are well into the AI craze. It seems that the floodgates have burst when it comes to new advancements and upgrades. Be they improvements to AI image generation, or processing power. Now, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the language model AI that set the world on fire in the first place, is getting even more functionality with the introduction of plugins.

These small, customisable programmes add niche functions, such as making ChatGPT better at finding specific kinds of restaurants and then giving it the ability to order for you.

On Thursday, OpenAI announced that it has begun gradually rolling out these plugins in ChatGPT in order to study the “real-world use, impact, and safety and alignment challenges” of such integration.

Currently, the company is offering developers a waitlist to begin accessing the ability to build plugins into ChatGPT, with some users already granted access and the necessary documentation.

“We’re starting with a small set of users and are planning to gradually roll out larger-scale access as we learn more (for plugin developers, ChatGPT users, and after an alpha period, API users who would like to integrate plugins into their products),” writes OpenAI in the announcement.

“Plugin developers who have been invited off our waitlist can use our documentation to build a plugin for ChatGPT, which then lists the enabled plugins in the prompt shown to the language model as well as documentation to instruct the model how to use each.”

The company says that the first set of plugins has already been created by firms like Expedia, FiscalNote, Instacart, KAYAK, Klarna, Milo, OpenTable, Shopify, Slack, Speak, Wolfram and Zapier.

These plugins bring a whole host of new possibilities to the chat platform. First users will be able to browse available plugins in the ChatGPT Plugins store, currently in Alpha.

Once selected, the plugins are simply downloaded, and installed and will seamlessly function within the regular chat function of the platform. One of the most interesting things here is that ChatGPT will make the plugins work together to increase their potential.

For example, if you install the OpenTable, InstaCart and Wolfram Alpha plugins and then prompt ChatGPT to find a specific restaurant, suggest a recipe, order ingredients for you and then calculate the calories of the recipe, it will use all the plugins in conjunction to fulfil the task.

You can check out how these third-party plugins work with ChatGPT in the video below:

For InstaCart, ChatGPT itself goes into the website, compiles the order, instantaneously we may add, and creates a link for the user to follow and order. We brought up in the office that a chatbot journeying into websites would be a problem because of CAPTCHA, but it seems like ChatGPT has overcome this problem in the past by actually hiring a real human to trick the famous “Are you a bot?” question.

OpenAI itself is hosting two plugins, namely a web browser and a code interpreter. OpenAI says that the browser is an “experimental model” and allows the language model to read information from the internet to expand on what content it can discuss. This allows ChatGPT to access present-day information, when previously it was bound to time-locked information due to its training.

From what we can see of this, it is almost identical to how Microsoft implemented ChatGPT into Bing, with web citations and lists.

Meanwhile, Code Intepreter is a plugin that allows ChatGPT to use Python, and handle uploads and downloads for you. With this plugin, ChatGPT is granted a safe (firewalled) environment to create code and a tiny bit of disk space on your machine.

“Code run by our interpreter plugin is evaluated in a persistent session that is alive for the duration of a chat conversation (with an upper-bound timeout) and subsequent calls can build on top of each other. We support uploading files to the current conversation workspace and downloading the results of your work,” OpenAI explains.

It gives the example of a user asking ChatGPT to perform a logic calculation, running Python (in black) via the plugin:

We have said before how the limitations of the platform are only bound by human imagination, and with plugins users will be able to shop online, book restaurants, book flights, plan trips receive market and financial information all directly from ChatGPT.

As the AI can use several plugins simultaneously, we imagine eventually users will be able to build incredibly powerful models from which they can access all things they will require. You could ask ChatGPT to order your dinner, do your taxes, find a school for your young children, and basically any other thing you use the internet for.

OpenAI is also set on giving out the ChatGPT API to developers, and there is currently a waitlist for this too. Eventually, developers all over the world will have access to the full power of ChatGPT, and we personally feel a mix of horror and excitement about what could emerge from this.

To opt-in to use or create plugins, join the waitlist here.

[Image – LevartPhotographer on Unsplash]

Luis Monzon

Luis Monzon

Journalist. Covering education, AAA gaming and consumer tech. Reach me at Luis@htxt.co.za.

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