By Kai Quizon,
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On March 23rd, OpenAI announced a new functionality for its hotshot large language model, ChatGPT: plugins. Plugins for ChatGPT function similarly to add-ins for a variety of different softwares. Outside developers are allowed to develop new functionality for the program by expanding its initial dataset or providing new interpretative powers. The interesting trick: some plugins allow ChatGPT to access real time internet data.
Initial Release Plugins
Initially, OpenAI is opening the plugin interface to certain partners and premium subscribers, but there are already a handful of extremely powerful plugins available. Many of these are powerful and greatly enhance the AI’s weaknesses, such as the Wolfram plugin that greatly improves ChatGPT’s math capabilities. ChatGPT can now also order food from Instacart, book trips with Expedia, and browse online products with Shop. Primarily, these plugins strengthen ChatGPT by giving it access to more data sets to better refine its responses.
Perhaps the most ambitious plugin though is OpenAI’s in house web browsing plugin. This plugin gives ChatGPT access to the World Wide Web in real time, expanding its data set beyond September of 2021. Ironically, this plugin uses Bing to search the internet real time (and manages to do it better than Microsoft’s Bing AI).
The Real Big Deal
Perhaps the real big deal of ChatGPT plugins is not the amazing extended abilities of ChatGPT, but instead the process of creating these plugins!
As Mitchell Hashimoto outlines above, the plugin creation process for ChatGPT is, to be honest, revolutionary. There is no “glue code” required. Typically, to create a plugin for a piece of software, a user must write “glue code” so that the existing software can interact with the extension they are trying to create. Further, this “glue code” can become outdated and defunct during new software updates. This commonly occurs for game jailbreaks. ChatGPT however, requires none of this. Plugins are created in plain English. The model takes the description and writes all the necessary integration itself.
ChatGPT plugins present a new frontier for the AI. We seem to be saying this almost every week, but that is simply the never-ending rush of progress in the current world of AI!