ChatGPT is an AI language model developed by a company called OpenAI. It is a pre-trained artificial intelligence system that can generate human-like text responses to a wide range of questions and prompts. If you ask ChatGPT itself as to what it is, this is the response:
“I am an Assistant, a large language model trained by OpenAI. I am a computer program designed to assist users in generating human-like text based on the input provided to me. I am not a real person, but rather a collection of algorithms and data that work together to generate responses to user inquiries. I do not have personal experiences or feelings, but I can provide information and assist with tasks within the scope of my programming.”
The chatbot was launched for public use only in December 2022 but has already amassed 57 million monthly active users in its first month of availability. It is expected to have surpassed 100 million monthly active users in January 2023. By comparison, it took social media app TikTok roughly nine months after its launch to build the same user base, and roughly two and a half years for Instagram to acquire 100 million monthly active users. Google Translate took six and a half years to reach that milestone.
As ChatGPT mimics human interaction people are amazed that it can write poetry, songs, essays, stories and what not. From the chatbot’s point of view it sees things as data, information, knowledge and wisdom.
Data refers to raw, unprocessed facts and figures.
Information is processed data that has been organized, structured, and presented in a way that provides context and meaning.
Knowledge is the understanding, awareness, or familiarity with a particular subject or situation that is acquired through experience or study.
Wisdom is the ability to make sound judgments and decisions based on a combination of knowledge, experience, and insight. Wisdom is often described as the combination of knowledge, insight, and the ability to apply them in a practical way to solve problems and make sound decisions.”
The Vedic way of getting answers to life’s questions is very much based on the relationship between a Guru (teacher) and a disciple (student) many people are wondering that will this end the need for a personal spiritual master?
One of the best examples of an individual requiring wisdom occurred at Kurukshetra where Arjuna got thoroughly confused about his duty and approached Sri Krishna. As the battle was about to begin Arjuna took a pause and began to offer reasons as to why fighting this war was not a good proposition for him. In response Krishna spoke the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita; and in that process reminding him that this is not the first time that he is sharing this divine knowledge, but that He has done it many, many times before. In this way a parampara (disciplic succession) was inaugurated which is continuing to this day. Today’s seeker may not have the benefit of approaching Shri Krishna directly and also may feel that with the passage of time his questions are also totally different from those which plagued Arjuna. But the Gita states that Sri Krishna never ever changes His body (or He never dies) and His knowledge is inexhaustible. These facts are enough to assure the contemporary seeker that wisdom is always available.
(**) A human being suffers from four defects: imperfect senses, illusion, tendency to commit mistakes, and cheating propensity. These surely translate. Therefore, a creation of human being such as ChatGPT has limitation in knowledge, ambiguities, inaccuracies, and biases, respectively. We see them in a bit more detail below:
Inaccuracies and Ambiguities
One of the biggest criticisms and limitations of ChatGPT is that it sometimes tends to produce texts that sound plausible or convincing but are incorrect or nonsensical under the surface. This phenomenon is called “hallucination” and it is common in language models. Furthermore, when it comes to obtaining information, it does not provide references or citations.
Limited Knowledge of Recent Events
The version launched in November 2022 can only provide information about events occurring in 2021 and earlier. It will soon provide more recent events as it continues to feed on data based on human-generated texts. Nevertheless, considering this drawback, users should keep in mind that it has limited knowledge of facts because it uses datasets that are not updated. You can use the ground data to get the answers.
ChatGPT is trained on large amounts of text data, and like any AI model, it may reflect the biases and prejudices of the data it is trained on. Because ChatGPT is trained on text data from the internet, it may generate misinformation or incorrect information.
Hence, when an imperfect human being cannot be a spiritual master, how could a product such as ChatGPT be? Only Krishna and his bona fide representatives who are the transparent via media of perfect spiritual knowledge can act as spiritual masters.
Further, the very fact that ChatGPT is “dependent on data” disqualifies it as a candidate for being spiritual master. Because data here is material and how could any churning of material information produce spiritual knowledge which is beyond the realm of matter? It would be like producing life from matter, when we know that life comes from life.
To conclude, ChatGPT ‘may’ give answers to questions you ask it almost as if Shri Krishna is responding to Arjuna’s queries, but that cannot amount to spiritual wisdom coming down in disciplic succession.
Entertainment value it certainly has, but it is highly doubtful that it has any enlightenment value.