The Abilities and Limitations of ChatGPT

Have you ever dreamt of having a friend to chat with at any time, who can answer all your questions; give advice; and help you write, code, and learn? This friend has become a reality in the form of a recently released chatbot: ChatGPT, a brand-new artificial intelligence (AI) dialogue system. This particular friend never sleeps, never gets bored, and is always ready to lend a helping hand. It’s like having your very own personal genie in a digital bottle.

ChatGPT has become a buzz-worthy topic in the news and on social media, with many people trying it out and sharing their experiences (we’ll highlight some below). Developed by OpenAI, this innovative technology has captured the world’s attention because of its impressive level of intelligence. While it’s not perfect, ChatGPT’s advanced capabilities open up a wide range of potential applications across various fields. Let’s explore some of the reasons why ChatGPT is so popular and what the tool can offer. Note: I used ChatGPT to polish up this paragraph.

What is ChatGPT?

Let’s first talk about what ChatGPT is. What better way to answer this question than by asking ChatGPT directly:

Great answer, ChatGPT! ChatGPT is a language model and form of AI that’s very good at having a conversational or Q&A-style exchange. To see for yourself simply click here, create an account, and start chatting.

What can ChatGPT do?

ChatGPT can chat, answer questions, create content, write code and debug, take tests, manipulate data, explain and tutor, and more! Let’s take a closer look.

Answer Questions

When asked how to install Python for data science, ChatGPT offers details on how to download Anaconda, check the installed packages, and launch Anaconda Navigator:

Create Content

ChatGPT has many content creation use cases, as it can easily write content based on a prompt. When I asked ChatGPT to write a poem about Anaconda, it did so beautifully (see below). I particularly like the lines, “Anaconda, a powerful ally / In the pursuit of knowledge and insight.” ChatGPT has also inspired people to create AI art prompts and build augmented reality (AR) scenes. ChatGPT-generated-content use cases hold perhaps unlimited potential.

ChatGPT writes a poem about Anaconda.

Restyle Writing

If you have a passion for writing but aren’t sure how to add a touch of elegance and extravagance to your words, ChatGPT can help! I recently asked this handy tool to help me rewrite a paragraph in the style of Kurt Vonnegut (see below), and the result was amazing. But what if you want your writing to be not only sophisticated, but also relatable to your readers? I asked ChatGPT to assist me in creating a piece of prose that is both florid and relatable, and I was thrilled with the outcome. Give ChatGPT a try and see how it can help you achieve your literary goals! Note: I used ChatGPT to polish up this paragraph.

And if you’re struggling to understand complex academic writing, ChatGPT can help you simplify it:

Write Code and Debug

Yes, ChatGPT understands code, can write code, and can even help developers debug their code. This was previously unthinkable, and compared to previous AI text generation tools ChatGPT just seems to get it.

ChatGPT helps with pair programming.

Take Tests

ChatGPT can even take tests. Although it only scored 52%, it’s impressive that an AI bot is able to take a complicated SAT test.

Manipulate Data

ChatGPT’s ability to manipulate data is very impressive! It can generate data in a table, add indexes, understand JSON, and more.

Explain and Tutor

It’s fascinating how well ChatGPT can help explain words, code, and even physics. As AI tutor capabilities like those of ChatGPT are refined and enhanced over the years, they could dramatically change the way students connect with the world.

Is ChatGPT going to replace Google?

After reading through all of the above use cases, you might be thinking, “ChatGPT is amazing! It seems like it can do everything Google can and more! Can and will ChatGPT replace Google?” Indeed, many people have expressed this sentiment and some have found ChatGPT results to be “unbelievably better” than Google’s:

But is ChatGPT really going to replace Google? To answer this question, I of course asked ChatGPT:

ChatGPT’s answer is it will not replace Google. It makes two interesting points: One is that ChatGPT is trained on data and not able to access the internet or provide search results. The second is that it tries to provide accurate results to the best of its ability. This tells me that there are at least two serious limitations with ChatGPT: limitations in training data and limitations in terms of providing correct answers. These limitations mean ChatGPT will not replace Google. Next let’s take a closer look at ChatGPT’s limitations, with more input from community members on social media.


Wrong Answers

Because ChatGPT is a language model, it will inevitably provide wrong answers. Sometimes, in fact, it’s very wrong. Computer scientist Andew Ng finds it “sometimes hilariously wrong.” Sometimes ChatGPT gives the impression that it’s very confident in its answers even when it’s wrong, which could be harmful—especially because you can’t tell when it’s wrong unless you already know the correct answer, as Arvind Narayanan notes on Twitter (see below).

Because ChatGPT sometimes delivers wrong information, StackOverflow even banned ChatGPT three days ago, saying “Overall, because the average rate of getting correct answers from ChatGPT is too low, the posting of answers created by ChatGPT is substantially harmful to the site and to users who are asking or looking for correct answers.”

Limitation in Training Data

Like many AI models, ChatGPT is limited in its training data. Lack of training data and biases in training data can reflect negatively on the model result.

Bias Issues

ChatGPT can generate discriminatory results. In fact, ChatGPT has demonstrated bias when it comes to minority groups. When the training data is biased, the model is inevitably biased. This is a challenge faced by nearly every AI tool, and it’s important to remember and consider as we seek to ensure fairness and reduce bias in technology.


There is a discussion thread on Twitter about how many GPUs it takes to run ChatGPT. The takeaway is that ChatGPT is very expensive to run. Given that ChatGPT is a free product, it’s unclear how sustainable ChatGPT is and how long it will be able to operate:

Stability and Capacity Issues

Just as I was writing this blog post, ChatGPT went down temporarily. It’s unclear exactly how many resources OpenAI is using to keep ChatGPT up and running.

Even though ChatGPT has demonstrated suitability for many meaningful use cases and has stirred excitement in the community, with all of the above-mentioned limitations it’s unclear if and when ChatGPT can be used commercially. I am hopeful, however, that ChatGPT can overcome these limitations, and I look forward to the next breakthrough!

Additional References:

ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue

OpenAI’s new chatbot can explain code and write sitcom scripts but is still easily tricked

AI’s Islamophobia problem

Interested in ChatGPT? Join Anaconda CEO Peter Wang on Thursday, December 15 for a live workshop and exploratory discussion about the transformative power of ChatGPT and other large language models. Register here.

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