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ChatGPT started a new kind of AI race — and made text boxes cool again

A screenshot of ChatGPT’s blank text box.
Tired: the metaverse. Wired: the message-verse? | Image: OpenAI / David Pierce

It’s pretty obvious that nobody saw ChatGPT coming. Not even OpenAI. Before it became by some measures the fastest growing consumer app in history, before it turned the phrase “generative pre-trained transformers” into common vernacular, before every company you can think of was racing to adopt its underlying model, ChatGPT launched in November as a “research preview.”

The blog post announcing ChatGPT is now a hilarious case study in underselling. “ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response. We are excited to introduce ChatGPT to get users’ feedback and learn about its strengths and weaknesses.” That’s it! That’s the whole pitch! No waxing poetic about…

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