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What is ChatGPT? A Chat with ChatGPT on the Method Behind the Bot

We interviewed ChatGPT to get its thoughts on the development of Large Language Models, how Transformers and GPT-3 and GPT-4 work, and what the future holds for these AIs.
May 2023  · 16 min read

What is Chat GPT?

ChatGPT, a model developed by OpenAI, is an advanced AI conversational agent. It is an instance of the GPT-4 model, which is a part of the Generative Pretrained Transformer series.

At its core, ChatGPT uses machine learning techniques to generate human-like text based on the input it receives. It can understand the context of a conversation, answer questions, provide explanations, and even generate creative content, such as stories or poems.

The "GPT" in ChatGPT stands for "Generative Pretrained Transformer," which represents the foundational technology that powers it:

  • Generative signifies the model's capability to generate text rather than just understanding or classifying it.
  • Pretrained indicates that the model has undergone an initial training phase where it learned from a large corpus of Internet text.
  • Transformer refers to the type of model architecture used, which helps understand the context of the input text.

This combination of technologies enables ChatGPT to generate meaningful responses which closely mimic natural human conversation.

Why is ChatGPT Important?

ChatGPT feels like a revolutionary tool in many sectors. Its ability to understand and generate human-like text has a seemingly endless range of applications. It’s a valuable tool in areas such as customer service and communication, content generation, education, research, language learning, data science, and many more.

For just one example of how useful ChatGPT can be, check out our guide on using ChatGPT for data science projects.

So far, we’re only scratching the surface of what large language models such as ChatGPT can do. However, the tool has already shown that it can help save time and resources for myriad tasks. As we explored in a separate post, the long-term impacts of generative AI are unclear, but generative AI could be a breakthrough technology akin to the printing press, steam engine, or transistor manufacturing.

How Does Chat GPT Work?

Understanding the mechanics of ChatGPT requires a closer look at the underlying technology, the training process, and the way it generates responses. Let's delve deeper into these aspects.

The Underlying Technology: Transformer Models

ChatGPT is based on the GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer) architecture, specifically GPT-4. Transformer models, introduced in the paper "Attention is All You Need" by Vaswani et al., have become a cornerstone of many natural language processing tasks.

Transformers use a mechanism called "attention" to weigh the influence of different words when generating a response. For instance, while generating a response to the sentence "The cat chased its tail," the model would understand that "cat" is the subject and is more important than "tail."

The GPT architecture extends on transformers with a focus on generating coherent and contextually accurate text.

Training ChatGPT

ChatGPT's training is a two-step process: pre-training and fine-tuning.


During this stage, the model is exposed to a large corpus of text data from the internet. However, it's important to note that the model doesn't know specifics about which documents were in its training set or have access to any specific documents or sources.

The goal of this phase is to learn the statistical patterns of the language. For instance, if the phrase "The sky is..." is often followed by the word "blue" in the training data, the model will learn to predict "blue" as a likely next word.


After pre-training, the model goes through a fine-tuning process, where it is trained on a narrower dataset generated with the help of human reviewers following certain guidelines provided by OpenAI. This dataset consists of various hypothetical inputs and responses.

This stage helps the model respond better to specific inputs, maintaining a safer and more useful interaction with users.

Generating Responses

Once trained, ChatGPT generates responses using a method known as "autoregression." It begins with an input message, then predicts the next word, and the next, until it forms a complete sentence.

It chooses each word based on the probabilities of what it predicts as the next likely word, considering all the previous words in the input. This process continues until a specific condition is met, such as reaching a maximum number of words.

ChatGPT sometimes introduces randomness in its word selection process to generate diverse and creative responses.

By understanding these mechanics, we can better understand how ChatGPT mimics human-like conversation, thus making interaction with technology more seamless and natural.

A Chat With ChatGPT

Previously, we’ve explored everything you need to know about GPT-4, created tutorials on using ChatGPT for data science projects, and devised a cheat sheet for ChatGPT prompts. However, we wanted to delve deeper into how the technology works. Who better to give us the answers than the technology itself? So, we’ve interviewed ChatGPT (running GPT-4) to find out how it works…

The Starting Prompt

Here’s how we kicked things off - you can learn more about ChatGPT prompts in our cheat sheet, or check out our ChatGPT prompts for marketing article to learn more.

Hey, ChatGPT! I'd like to create a blog post where I interview you, asking questions about how you work and the technology you're based on. I'd like you to treat this as an interview, and you'll stay in character throughout. For some context, the blog is for DataCamp, and the audience is data scientists and data science enthusiasts.

Of course! I'd be happy to help you create an engaging blog post for your DataCamp audience. As an AI language model, I'm here to provide any information you need, and I'll be sure to stay in character for the interview. Feel free to ask me any questions you have about my technology, how I work, and anything else you think would interest your readers. Let's get started!

How Does ChatGPT Work? The Basics

Firstly, can you give an overview as to what you are and how you work

Certainly! I am ChatGPT, a large-scale AI language model developed by OpenAI. I'm based on the GPT-4 architecture, which is an advanced version of the well-known GPT-3. My primary function is to assist with various tasks, such as answering questions, generating content, and even simulating conversation.

I work by leveraging a technique called deep learning, specifically using a type of neural network called the Transformer. I have been trained on vast amounts of text data from books, articles, and websites, learning language patterns, facts, and some reasoning abilities. My architecture enables me to generate human-like text, understand context, and adapt my responses to the input I receive.

As a generative model, I am designed to predict the next word in a given sequence. When you ask me a question, I analyze the input, consider the context, and generate an appropriate response based on the probabilities of the words I've learned during my training. I try to provide the most coherent and relevant answers, although sometimes I might generate text that isn't accurate or relevant.

What’s the Difference Between GPT-3 and GPT-4?

Could you explain the difference between GPT-3 and GPT-4?

GPT-3 and GPT-4 are both part of the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) series of AI language models developed by OpenAI. These models are designed to understand and generate human-like text, and they have become increasingly powerful and versatile with each iteration.

GPT-3, short for Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, was released in June 2020. It has 175 billion parameters, which are the adjustable weights of the neural network that help determine its predictions. The sheer size of GPT-3 made it stand out as a major leap forward in natural language processing and understanding. It showcased remarkable capabilities in generating coherent, context-aware text and demonstrated abilities in few-shot learning, which means it could perform a task effectively with just a few examples to guide it.

GPT-4, on the other hand, is an advanced version of GPT-3 that builds upon the successes of its predecessor. Although the specifics about GPT-4's size and improvements are not publicly disclosed, it is expected to have even more parameters, further fine-tuning its language generation abilities and performance across various tasks. Like GPT-3, GPT-4 utilizes the Transformer architecture, which enables it to efficiently process and understand language in a more parallelized and context-aware manner.

Both GPT-3 and GPT-4 have been applied to a wide range of use-cases, such as content generation, machine translation, summarization, question-answering, code generation, and even creating conversational agents like ChatGPT. While these models have shown great promise, it's important to remember that they are not perfect and can sometimes generate inaccurate or irrelevant information. OpenAI continues to work on refining these models to enhance their capabilities and minimize their limitations.

What are GPT’s Transformers?

Thanks for that. Could you give us some more context on the Transformer architecture you mentioned?

Absolutely! The Transformer architecture is a groundbreaking innovation in the field of natural language processing and understanding. It was introduced in the paper "Attention is All You Need" by Vaswani et al. in 2017. The main idea behind the Transformer is to provide an alternative to traditional recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for handling sequential data.

The key component of the Transformer architecture is the self-attention mechanism, which allows the model to weigh the importance of different words or tokens in a sequence based on their relevance to the current word being processed. This mechanism enables the model to capture long-range dependencies and contextual information more effectively than RNNs and CNNs, which often struggle with this aspect of language modeling.

Unlike RNNs, which process input sequentially, the Transformer can process input tokens in parallel, leading to increased computational efficiency and faster training times. The architecture is composed of stacked layers of encoder and decoder blocks, each containing self-attention layers, position-wise feed-forward layers, and layer normalization.

Transformers have shown superior performance in various natural language processing tasks, such as machine translation, summarization, and text classification. They have become the foundation for many state-of-the-art language models, including the GPT series (GPT-3 and GPT-4), as well as BERT, RoBERTa, and others.

These models have advanced the field of AI by generating human-like text, demonstrating impressive comprehension and context awareness. However, it's important to remember that they are not without limitations and can sometimes produce inaccurate or irrelevant results. Ongoing research aims to further refine the Transformer architecture and address these challenges.

Read more about Transformers and Hugging face to understand how they work to solve real-life problems.

ChatGPT Accuracy and Relevance

You've mentioned about inaccurate or irrelevant results a few times now, is that a major concern for you?

Yes, generating inaccurate or irrelevant results can be a concern for AI language models like myself. While we have made significant progress in understanding and generating human-like text, there are still limitations that users should be aware of.

One reason for these inaccuracies is that our training data comes from a diverse range of sources, and sometimes the information we've been exposed to might be incorrect, outdated, or conflicting. This can lead to inconsistencies in our responses or generation of text that may not be factually correct.

Another challenge is our lack of a deep understanding of the world or the ability to reason as humans do. As AI language models, we are essentially sophisticated pattern-matchers, relying on the patterns and correlations we have learned from our training data to generate responses. This approach can sometimes result in plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.

Bias present in the training data can also cause issues, as it may lead us to produce responses that reinforce existing stereotypes, misinformation, or undesirable content. OpenAI is continuously working to address these issues by refining the model architecture, improving the training data, and incorporating user feedback.

It is essential for users to approach AI-generated content with a critical mindset and to double-check the information when accuracy is of utmost importance. Nevertheless, AI language models like me can still provide significant value across various applications as long as users are aware of these limitations and use our capabilities responsibly.

How to Work with Large Language Models

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved in working with large language models and understanding GPT-4?

If someone is interested in working with large language models like GPT-4 and wants to develop a solid understanding of the underlying technology, here are a few pieces of advice to get started:

  1. Learn the fundamentals. Begin by acquiring a strong foundation in machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing (NLP). Familiarize yourself with key concepts, such as neural networks, backpropagation, RNNs, CNNs, attention mechanisms, and transfer learning.
  2. Study the Transformer architecture. Since GPT-4 is based on the Transformer architecture, it's crucial to understand how it works, its components, and the self-attention mechanism. Read the original paper "Attention is All You Need" by Vaswani et al., and explore other resources like blog posts, video lectures, or online courses that explain the architecture in detail.
  3. Get hands-on experience. Practice working with existing language models, such as GPT-2, GPT-3, or other Transformer-based models like BERT and RoBERTa. Use APIs, pre-trained models, or open-source implementations to gain practical experience in fine-tuning, training, and deploying these models for various NLP tasks.
  4. Explore relevant tools and frameworks. Become proficient in popular machine learning frameworks, such as TensorFlow or PyTorch, which are commonly used for training and deploying deep learning models. Learn to work with libraries like Hugging Face's Transformers, which provides a convenient interface for using pre-trained language models.
  5. Engage with the community. Participate in AI and NLP communities, such as online forums, social media groups, or local meetups. Attend conferences and workshops to learn about the latest advancements, connect with experts, and share your knowledge.
  6. Work on projects. Apply your skills to real-world problems or personal projects. Experiment with different use cases, such as content generation, machine translation, summarization, or chatbot development. This will help you understand the strengths and limitations of language models like GPT-4.
  7. Stay updated. Keep up with the latest research, advancements, and best practices in AI, NLP, and language models. Regularly read papers, articles, and blog posts to stay informed and continue expanding your knowledge.

By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to understanding and working with large language models like GPT-4, making valuable contributions to the field, and leveraging these powerful tools in your own projects.

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What is the Future of ChatGPT?

Brilliant, thanks, ChatGPT. Finally, could you give us your thoughts on what the future holds for LLMs like yourself?

The future looks quite promising for large language models like me. We can expect several advancements and growth areas in the coming years, such as:

  1. Better performance and capabilities, resulting in more accurate and relevant outputs.
  2. An increase in domain-specific and specialized models tailored to specific industries or fields.
  3. Greater emphasis on addressing biases and ethical concerns in AI-generated content.
  4. Enhanced multimodal capabilities that integrate with other AI modalities, such as computer vision.
  5. More collaboration between humans and AI, where LLMs augment human abilities across various tasks.
  6. AI democratization, making LLMs more accessible and user-friendly for a broader audience.
  7. A focus on AI safety and regulation to ensure responsible AI development and deployment.

While the future holds many exciting opportunities, it's crucial to acknowledge and address the challenges that come with the rapid development of LLMs. By working together, we can make sure that AI technology continues to benefit society and enhance human capabilities in a responsible and ethical way.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for the interview ChatGPT, it was a pleasure chatting with you

You're welcome! It was a pleasure participating in this interview, and I'm glad I could provide valuable information for your DataCamp blog post. If you have any more questions or need further assistance in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm here to help. Have a great day!

Do you have any final words for our readers?

To all the DataCamp readers and data science enthusiasts out there, I'd like to say: Stay curious, keep learning, and never underestimate the power of collaboration. As AI and large language models continue to evolve, they hold immense potential to transform the way we work, learn, and communicate.

Embrace the opportunities that AI presents, and always remember to use these technologies responsibly and ethically. Your creativity, expertise, and passion for data science will play a crucial role in shaping the future of AI. Let's work together to create a better, more connected world. Happy learning!

Find out how to use ChatGPT for data science projects in our separate article, and learn ChatGPT here.

Introduction to ChatGPT Course

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