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Are you worried ChatGPT will take your job overnight? “It’s not happening,” says Computer Science Professor Sameer Singh of UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS).

A recent Popular Mechanics article, “ChatGPT Is a ‘Very Sophisticated Guessing Engine’ That Probably Won’t Steal Your Job,” outlines how ChatGPT works. To gauge the prospects of the Open AI chatbot threatening people’s job security, author Matt Crisara reached out to Singh, an expert in machine learning and natural language processing.

“So should we be concerned that ChatGPT is going to become the next great screenwriter,” asks Crisara, “putting half of Hollywood out of work?”

Singh doesn’t seem concerned. “They just need to play around with it for ten minutes.” Singh went on to say that ChatGPT is basically a “very sophisticated guessing engine.”

The article explains that ChatGPT starts by analyzing everything it can find online. “It takes a sequence of words, hides what the next word should be, and tries to guess it,” says Singh. “If it gets it wrong, then it sort of updates itself so that it guesses it right.” Yet he stresses that it’s not “actually looking up the answer. … It’s just trying to guess what looks like the correct answer.”

Also, Chat GPT currently doesn’t “know” anything past 2021. “These models take a long time and a lot of effort to train,” says Singh. “But that means they don’t get trained very often.”

Singh seems to reassure Crisara that he won’t be out of work as a writer anytime soon. “So for the time being,” writes Crisara, “it’s difficult to decipher whether ChatGPT will be a useful tool or just a gimmick that we’ll look back on in another life. We like to think of it as the 2023 version of Google Glass.”

— Shani Murray