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How ChatGPT Works: Explained for the Non-Techie

Hi Friends 👋

Wow, the last 7 days have been epic for ChatGPT, so many new features are now live.

In this email, I’ll show you those features and explain in simple terms:

  • How ChatGPT works, explained for the non-techie

  • Microsoft 365 now has AI-powered chat to slim down your to-do list

  • How to use ChatGPT voice on your phone

  • ChatGPT vision in action

  • And more…

Let’s get started…

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🔎 AI Updates

Microsoft 365 Chat is a powerful new capability in Copilot that goes far beyond simple questions and answers. Powered by the Microsoft Graph, Microsoft 365 Chat combs across your data at work—all your emails, meetings, chats, documents, and more, plus the web—to tackle your to-do list in a fraction of the time. Watch the overview: [Link]

💬 ChatGPT Updates

I used DALL-E in ChatGPT to create the brain-style thumbnail (below) for this week’s newsletter. It was designed in 2 minutes using this prompt running in DALL-E:

Design me a youtube thumbnail for a video titled:
How ChatGPT Works: Explained for the Non-Techie

ChatGPT DALL-E Thumbnail Prompt

Deep Dive

How ChatGPT Works: Explained for the Non-Techie

Why you should care: ChatGPT can save knowledge workers 10%-90% of their time. If you understand how ChatGPT works, you will know its strengths and limitations. Then you can use it more effectively.

What you need to know: Anyone can learn ChatGPT. Understanding how it works helps you understand its strengths and weaknesses. It's important to train your team with the message that AI is here to remove the boring parts of their work so they can focus on the things that make the biggest difference.


On with the story…

You can always tell an experienced traveller when they communicate in another language by watching their hands.

Here’s why…

Because they learned the hand signals that work in any language.

We all know that signing your hand is asking for the bill.

If you’ve been reading my newsletter for a while, you will know I used to work as a trek leader for an adventure travel company.

And because I had mountaineering experience but no language skills, I worked pretty much anywhere.

Within a few months, I would find myself all over the world, from Morocco, Pakistan, Nepal and Iran.

I don’t speak any of the languages of those countries.

It turns out that isn’t a big problem.

Not being able to speak any second language means that you can learn how to communicate without language.

What’s this got to do with AI?

Because LLM’s (large language models) like ChatGPT are experts in language transformation.

Let me explain in simple terms….

ChatGPT & Word Patterns

If I say the words:

The grand old duke of __________?

For the blank, you think YORK, right? As you know the pattern.

ChatGPT also knows the pattern as it has learnt using the entire web and using a neural network to (kinda) statistically guess which word should go next.

Now if I shorten my example:

The grand old __________?

This time we might guess something like lady, man, or hotel. ChatGPT thinks it is Duke.

Now this:

The grand __________?

You’re even less sure, right?

But if we expand out the sentience to this:

The grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again, when they were up they were up, when they were down, they were down, when they were only half way up they were neither up nor __________?

Yes, we are 99% certain that the next word is… …. down.

ChatGPT works the same way as we do when making a guess.

This is a key insight for getting the best outputs when using ChatGPT.

The more content, context and steering you give it the better the results.

It’s like giving ChatGPT guard rails to guide it exactly to the right output.

The good news is the more you use ChatGPT, the better you become at prompting with the guard rails in place.

It’s just like when you started using Google.

The more you used and understood what Google could do, the more useful it became.

Here’s what I found useful to learn ChatGPT faster…

6 Easy Ways To Improve Your ChatGPT Prompting Skills

  1. Think of ChatGPT as a day 1 intern. Give it tasks with checklists, explain why, explain how, and ask it to ask you questions for clarification.

  2. Give ChatGPT guard rails. Do this by giving it constraints and avoiding assumptions.

  3. You’re the thinker and ChatGPT is the doer. 

  4. Talk to it like a human using dictation or voice in the mobile app. It’s easier to speak instructions than type.

  5. One task at a time. For less chance of confusion.

  6. Iterate prompts. If you get a bad output, then you must improve the prompt.

If you want to learn more about LLMs like ChatGPT, use the prompt below to start an interactive training session with ChatGPT as your teacher:

I want you to teach me how LLMs, Large Language Models, work like ChatGPT in a way that I find really easy to understand. Focus on LLMs only. I want you to teach me through an interactive session where you judge my knowledge and rate my answers. Then depending on the answers I give you improve your training to me, so I get a much more in-depth understanding.

ChatGPT Learning LLM’s Teaching Prompt

You now understand how ChatGPT works, meaning you can use it more effectively.

Happy prompting!

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Thanks for reading,

Tim

Tim O'Shea
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