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How ChatGPT's AI works behind the scenes (and responds to practically anything)

By Weiwen Leung     Updated Feb 29, 2024

Dive deep into the fascinating world of ChatGPT and unravel the inner workings of this AI powerhouse, all without the need for a data science degree.

1. Understanding the Basics: Generative Pretrained Transformer

Let's start by unpacking 'Generative Pretrained Transformer' or GPT. 'Generative' means ChatGPT creates text, pulling one word after another out of its virtual hat.

Picture this: if I toss you the words 'Canada' and 'big', you might instantly think 'country' or even 'maple syrup'. ChatGPT operates on a similar principle, using a massive archive of text to determine which words are likely companions.

The AI then rolls the dice, calculating the odds for each word in its dictionary to decide which one fits snuggly as the next piece of the puzzle. It continues this process, crafting sentences until it reaches a natural stop.

2. The Magic of Probability and Position

ChatGPT uses a transformer to convert input text into a buffet of likely next-word candidates, serving up probabilities like a skilled casino dealer.

In this establishment, two key components call the shots. The first sizes up each word against its peers, assigning them compatibility scores. Picture 'swimming' and 'water' getting a high score for being tight-knit buddies.

Next, we have the positioning maestro, keeping track of each word's place in line, ensuring that words like 'genuinely' cozy up with the right partners, be it 'really' or 'sincerely'.

3. Selective Attention: Teaching ChatGPT to Focus

Ever zone in on certain words when reading? ChatGPT's got its own focusing lens, highlighting words that are key players and dimming the background chatter.

This nifty trick involves generating attention scores and tweaking the influence of each word on the final decision—kind of like spotlighting the lead singer in a band concert.

As a result, less important words take a backseat, letting the stars shine. This smart dividing of attention was a breakthrough, propelling GPT from its humble first version to the third, sharper, and more sophisticated iteration.

4. A Symphony of Neural Knobs

Underneath it all, ChatGPT boasts neural networks that are like sound-mixing boards with billions of knobs. 'Pretrained' just means someone's been tweaking these knobs to perfection before the AI hit the stage.

What gets it really grooving? Combining the base model with a set of newly written human-like exchanges, giving it that extra layer of finesse—a process known as fine-tuning.

With the base groove set, a second round of fine-tuning lets ChatGPT jam out in real conversations, learning from human feedback on its responses. This dual-layered fine-tuning is what makes ChatGPT's beats hit just right.

5. The Future: Adversarial Learning and Exponential Growth

Now, hold onto your hats because there's a technique that could skyrocket ChatGPT's smarts to new heights: adversarial learning.

This technique, likened to a cunning sparring match, is already creating drop-dead-gorgeous synthetic images. If ChatGPT steps into this ring, we might see its conversational prowess leapfrog beyond our wildest dreams.

While not yet a player in the adversarial game as per last records, the day it jumps in, we'll witness an AI transformation that makes today's ChatGPT look like the opening act to a mind-bending main performance.

6. Praise for a Clear Explanation

Your feedback, like 'That is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for such a great explanation!', tells us the breakdown hit the nail on the head—cheers to learning without the jargon!

We're glad our stroll through ChatGPT's neighborhood was just what you needed. Understanding the complex nuances of AI can be a tough cookie to crack, but it seems we've managed to serve it up just right.

'Very nice general overview of the underlying building blocks of ChatGPT,' you say? We aim to please by laying out the bricks that build up this towering AI. Stay tuned for more deep dives minus the deep headache!

7. The Hunger for More Knowledge

Some of you are craving seconds, asking, 'Well explained in layman’s terms. Could you go into more detail in your next video? Without complex mathematics', and we hear you loud and clear.

Keep an eye out—we're cooking up more hearty servings of knowledge that won't require you to dust off your old math textbooks. We'll keep it light, flavorful, and easy to digest.

Remember, we're always here to satisfy your tech appetite without overcooking the technical terms. Let's make learning about AI as enjoyable as catching up over coffee!


ChatGPT is an AI wizard that crafts word-by-word responses, based on complex probability predictions and attention mechanisms. Its ability to understand context and generate relevant text is continuously refined through human-guided training, making it a cutting-edge example of interactive AI.