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ChatGPT take 1/4

Updated: Sep 14

3 things I learned from reading the patent application publication

There is a dominant narrative that want us (Africans) to believe that innovation only happens elsewhere - and that innovation is happening so fast we can't keep up so we need to embrace/take what's been given to us. But before we embrace innovation from outside, we need to truly study it. By studying, I don't mean watching and reading every marketing materials out there. I mean having a healthy dose of skepticism when studying these innovations. Here is what I've done so far to learn about Open AI ChatGPT. On the patent first.

3 things I learned from reading the patent application publication

1. ChatGPT is about taking communication to the next level by automating some or all of it. ChatGPT is really improving existing automated responses generation tool like Gmail Smart Reply. A few drawbacks of existing automate responses tool include (1) short phrases (predefined) (2) the existing tool are confined to a specific channel (i.e. Gmail) and (3) current tools are not robust i.e. lack of context or ability to contextualized communication.

2. The patent is very vague when it comes to the nitty gritty - i.e. what type of datasets are used to train the model, how big are they? what are the privacy considerations? permission? - it just referred to the Internet. Given the Internet is not representative in Africa, one can argue that these models won't be particularly robust if there is not enough data on the continent.

3. What is fascinating with this tool is its ability to generate natural language response based on context but also perform computation at the same time. I can't imagine the kind of power needed to run such engines. Do we have that kind of power in Africa?

What does it means in Africa?

1) AI requires data (training) and we still don't produce enough data. So before jumping to queries on ChatGPT let's be aware that the model is only as good as the training data. One can argue that because we've really spent our time copying and pasting from the west/outside, it really doesn't matter. The flip side is that we can now learn at a faster rate with the data available from the west. More on that in my last take (4/4)

2) You can only appreciate the disruption if you have context. If you've written a poem before, you will be amazed by the speed and style of ChatGPT but only if you've done it before. This is important for our youth who are now flocking to ChatGPT to solve their assignment or essays.

3) If you run a startup in Africa (fintech, etc.) where you collect data, check your IP and IP ownership quickly. You may be in for a shock :) In the digital world, true ownership reside in the IP. I think by now, you've realized that your cap table is another indicator.

That's it for now for take 1, tomorrow will talk about the true test of ChatGPT for Africa.

If you want to read the Open AI patent, its here:

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