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Does the Release of GPT-4 Change Anything for Writers



Johnathan Morris

You probably already know that OpenAI recently unveiled the new GPT-4, which it claims can handle “much more nuanced instructions.” What you might not know is what that could mean for creatives.

The excitement around AI content generation hasn't abated. In fact, it has grown. OpenAI's latest artificial intelligence model GPT-4 is getting tons of press, most of which is focused on just how smart and capable AI is getting. And it is getting smarter and, according to many reports, much more capable when it comes to editing, reasoning, adapting to editorial style, and answering questions.

“Should you be excited about or scared of GPT-4?” a New York Times tech columnist asks. “The right answer may be both.” More importantly, however, you should be prepared. Chatbots may not be coming for your job yet, but they're coming. The more you know, the more power you have to influence how AI writing and editing tools are integrated into your processes.

So, What Exactly Is GPT-4?

GPT-4 is the latest iteration of OpenAI's natural language processing technology, and it supposedly offers significant improvements over its predecessors, GPT-3 and GPT-3.5. Tests by journalists suggest GPT-4 can generate more natural-sounding and accurate text than older versions of the AI model and handle more nuanced and complex requests. A statement on the company's website claims GPT-4 “can generate the same level of context and understanding as a human."

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has described it as the “most capable and aligned” (read: ethical) version of the model to date. However, Altman also tweeted that like ChatGPT, GPT-4 is "still flawed, still limited, and it still seems more impressive on first use than it does after you spend more time with it."

And What Does GPT-4 Do Better Than GPT-3.5?

"GPT-4's ability to pick up on nuances—and humour—is completely mindblowing," writes Alex Banks, adding that the tool can work iteratively with humans on creative writing tasks. "The best part about this is learning your writing style, something which GPT-3.5 struggled with." Does that spell doom for copywriters, editors, journalists, marketers, and other creatives? Not any time soon, if Altman is leveling with us. What people need to keep in mind is that for all the hype, AI copywriting tools powered by models like GPT-4 are still just tools. The quality of any output is dependent on the quality of the input, which means human expertise is still very much needed.

One significant difference between GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 is that the former can analyze and describe images—and suggest ways to build on those images. In one OpenAI demonstration, the model analyzed a rough sketch of a website and was able to produce the code that would effectively build that site. It also seems to be much better at problem-solving—so much so that it scores very well on exams like the SAT, LSAT, and GRE; is able to generate entire lawsuits; and can identify security vulnerabilities in code.

According to Time magazine, early users " created computer games in less than a minute by simply asking the chatbot to generate code, resulting in near-perfect renditions of Tetris, Connect Four, Snake, and Pong. Other users created a matchmaking service, bedtime stories, a browser extension that translates any webpage into “pirate speak,” and even a tool that can help discover new medications."

How Can Writers and Editors Try GPT-4 for Free?

Taking this technology out for a spin is probably the best way to understand what it can and can't do, but the free version of OpenAI's ChatGPT doesn't yet tap into GPT-4. Writers can try GPT-4 if they subscribe to ChatGPT Plus at $20/mo., or they can get a taste of what the new AI model can do without paying a subscription fee by using the new Bing AI chat.

As for whether the release of GPT-4 changes anything, the answer is probably not. Executives and other decision-makers are following the buzz, which shouldn't come as a surprise, meaning it's still up to writers, editors, and marketers to be the voice of realism in newsrooms and marketing departments.

"At best, ChatGPT is a tool, a powerful one, that can save time and help creative talent focus on bigger thinking, but at worst, it’s a shortcut to mediocrity at scale," writes M.T. Fletcher in their latest Ad Age column. "Creativity and non-linear thinking are still the most powerful tools in your arsenal"

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