Companies Tap Tech Behind ChatGPT to Make Customer-Service Chatbots Smarter

Businesses hope the artificial-intelligence technology behind ChatGPT can turn ordinary chatbots into impressive fonts of information, potentially transforming customer service. 

But many executives said they are proceeding with caution, given the limitations of ChatGPT—fine-tuned from GPT-3.5, a model created by startup OpenAI—as well as OpenAI’s older AI language system, GPT-3, which companies are already starting to integrate into digital products.

ChatGPT, launched by OpenAI in November, quickly went viral for its often elegant, information-packed responses to various questions, gripping the imaginations of regular people, business leaders and investors including

Microsoft Corp.

, which began backing OpenAI in 2019 and said Monday that it would make a multibillion-dollar investment in the startup. 

OpenAI last week said it would soon add ChatGPT, which stands for chat generative pre-trained transformer, to its application programming interface, or API, which lets developers embed OpenAI technology into their own products.

But customer-experience executives said overreliance on such AI models could lead to companies dishing out incorrect information to customers online without knowing they are doing so. 

While many chatbots are trained to deliver a version of “I don’t know” to requests they cannot compute, ChatGPT, for example, is more likely to spout off a response with complete confidence—even if the information is wrong.

“We don’t want to be in the bad answer business,” said

John Willcutts,

vice president and general manager of digital at Nice Ltd., a customer-experience software company. “A really bad answer in a very critical situation would be a very real problem.”

Sam Altman,

chief executive of OpenAI, has warned against relying on ChatGPT “for anything important right now.”

“Fun creative inspiration; great! Reliance for factual queries; not such a good idea,”

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