ChatGPT, the chat room powered by artificial intelligence made by OpenAI, has wowed the world in recent months with the text it can generate. Now the chat room is once again delighting users by creating charts, maps and turning images into videos.
That’s because of a new feature that OpenAI rolled out to ChatGPT Plus subscribers last week, called code interpreter. Here’s what to know about it.
What is a code interpreter?
Code Interpreter is a new feature that allows ChatGPT to analyze data, create charts, solve math problems, and edit files, among other uses. It also supports uploading and downloading files, which was previously not possible in ChatGPT.
A code interpreter became available last Thursday to subscribers of ChatGPT Plus, a service that costs $20 a month. Similar add-ons that let ChatGPT users access third-party services such as Expedia and OpenTable are available to subscribers only.
How does a code interpreter work?
When people ask ChatGPT a question, the chat engine guesses an answer based on a technology called a large language model, or LLM, which predicts the next word in a sequence.
But when a code interpreter is enabled, ChatGPT writes and runs a piece of computer code to find the answer, OpenAI said. That allows the chat to perform new tasks it hasn’t done before, such as performing complicated calculations and generating charts based on data a user uploads, all of which is completed with code.
Some argue that a code interpreter reduces the chances of errors, a common complaint about LLMs
“The code objectively does something right,” said Ethan Mollick, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who tested a code interpreter for two months before it was released.
What did people use a code interpreter to do?
The most common use of a code interpreter is data analysis.
With a prompt like “tell me what’s interesting about the data,” ChatGPT can sift through a user’s data, such as financial, health, or location information, and produce insights about it. Financial analysts have found ways to use the tool in their work, such as analyzing stock prices and preparing a budget.
Researchers have also started using the tool for creative data visualizations. Dr. Mollick said he recently used a code interpreter to create a three-dimensional chart of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and make animated map from every lighthouse in the United States. Some people have also used a code interpreter to convert file formats, such as turning images into videos or PDF documents into images.
Arvind Narayanan, a professor of computer science at Princeton University, warned that people should not become too dependent on a code interpreter for data analysis because AI still produces inaccurate results and misinformation.
“Proper data analysis just requires a lot of critical thinking about the data,” he said.