ChatGPT has made AI the hot new thing in Silicon Valley, and investors are suddenly very interested

Why ChatGPT is a game changer for AI
Why ChatGPT is a game changer for AI

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In just a couple of months, the question-and-answer chatbot ChatGPT has become so popular that it's not unusual for users to see a message saying it's at capacity and can't handle any more queries. According to UBS, ChatGPT was averaging about 13 million visitors per day by the end of January.

OpenAI, the San Francisco-based startup behind ChatGPT, has some big backers including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Khosla Ventures. Microsoft also has invested in the company and has reportedly considered adding ChatGPT to its Bing search engine.

"Unlike some of the other hyped technology sectors in the past few years, this has a very real application both for individuals and for enterprises right now," Forrester analyst Rowan Curran told CNBC.

Chatbots have been around for a while, but most have been tailored toward very specific tasks such as answering basic customer service questions about your phone bill. ChatGPT is much more sophisticated due to the wide-sweeping data on which it has been trained.

"OpenAI doesn't reveal specific data that they use to train. We do know that it's a ton of data," says CNBC technology reporter Jonathan Vanian. "It surfs the web, spools all that internet data. They do Wikipedia entries, a lot of archived books."

ChatGPT is part of a growing field of AI known as generative AI. The technology has venture capitalists excited. Funding for generative AI companies reached $1.37 billion in 2022 alone, according to Pitchbook. While ChatGPT is free to use, OpenAI recently announced a new $20/month subscription plan that gives members additional benefits such as access to ChatGPT even during peak times.

"Most of AI in the last couple of decades has really been around analyzing existing data," says Gaurav Gupta, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. "Generative AI is very different. It allows you to create brand new content. That content can be text like a news article or poetry or marketing copy, a website. It could be video. It could even be audio, like creating brand new music."

But generative AI still faces a number of challenges, including developing content that is inaccurate, biased or inappropriate.

Watch the video to learn more about how generative AI like ChatGPT works and what the technology may mean for businesses and society as a whole.