Recently, I was writing about the great changes brought upon by two events in the mid-1400s: firstly, the fall of Constantinople and, secondly, the European (re-)invention of the movable-type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg.
Whereas the fall of Constantinople has a well-defined date—29 May 1453—it is hard to say when the innovation of the printing press in itself took place. Gutenberg is known to have worked on his concept for more than a decade before his Magnum Opus was printed: the Gutenberg 42-line Bible, known as the first known book to be printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. Unfortunately, it has no specific publishing date; we only know that finished copies were available in 1454-55.
When it comes to Natural Language Generation, though, the history books of the future may propose a very specific date when the game was changed regarding mankind’s use of written language: 30 November 2022.
Sure — many still see ChatGPT and its underlying technology as a toy and laugh at its shortcomings. But, as the Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan once wrote, “it will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls”. Personally, I am just as fascinated as I am disgusted and just as curious as I am scared.