My friend, the chatbot


March 3, 2023 · ChatGPT is on everyone's lips and controversial – does it turn out to be a hostile competitor, or is it just a handy tool that makes our everyday lives easier?

When was the last time you googled something? It probably wasn't too long ago. But wait – Google, that's something from 2022 – nowadays you ask the chatbot, this ChatGPT. And promptly you get the information you are looking for, somehow personal and nice. Have you already tried the chatbot?

Of course, there is now also a lot of artificial intelligence behind Google. Nevertheless, ChatGPT feels very different at first glance, or better: at the first touch of a button, not at all like a machine. This seems to be the case for many users, in any case, the creativity of the questioners can hardly be stopped, to challenge the chatbot accordingly:

The development in the field of artificial intelligence is currently proceeding rapidly. AI established itself as an independent field in the fifties. At that time, the first AI systems emerged, which cannot be compared with the performance of today. Artificial intelligence must learn, on the one hand facts, but on the other hand information structures and networks. This "deep learning" requires ever higher computing power with higher complexity. Thus, the recent rapid increase in processor speed plays a decisive role in the enormous development.

Processor speed is defined in floating-point operations per second, called GFLOPS. The performance of artificial intelligence can also be measured in GFLOPS, namely in the number of GFLOPS required to train the machine. However, in the graph below, GFLOPS are converted as petaflops, as we are dealing with enormously large numbers (one petaflop equals one quadrillion or 1000 trillion floating-point operations per second).

The increase in petaflops required for AI systems is accelerating. Current systems sometimes train with over two billion petaflops, a number that is hard to imagine if they were theoretically calculated back into GFLOPS. The scale in the following graph has been scaled logarithmically to reflect the rapid increase.

The systems are therefore becoming increasingly complex and can solve increasingly difficult tasks. We are dealing with artificial intelligence in very different areas: search engines, security services (e.g. facial recognition, fingerprint scanning), streaming services, e-commerce, gaming, advertising, navigation, artificial intelligence as a tool for art and music, to name just a few areas of application. The average user does not even notice a large number of applications, such as process analyses in companies, etc. But in many areas, almost everyone has to deal specifically with AI systems, as a survey by Bitkom shows - best known are the automatic text suggestions when writing messages.

AI is therefore increasingly finding its way into our daily lives. The systems are becoming more and more sophisticated, such as ChatGPT, which somehow has something almost human about it when it answers in polite, well-formulated sentences. Is this perhaps what fascinates us on the one hand and unsettles us on the other? The eternal battle between man and machine and the fear that machines will take control or that man will even become superfluous?

In 1999, the AI researcher Ray Kurzweil came to the sobering thesis that the only thing that separates us from the evolutionary development of artificial intelligence as a new, independent life form is the still lower computing power of the WWW in relation to our brain. But is it only a matter of time before we are overtaken? Or has this already happened? What about you, are you actually more of a skeptics?

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Despite everything, the fascination is great, especially for ChatGPT at the moment. This can also be seen in the rapid growth of users:

December 4, 2022 (five days after publication):

1 million


End of January 2023:


100 million


Source: Reuters

It's no wonder: what he can do:

Event Planner


Joke teller




Telephone directory

Sources of ideas










Term papersWriter






Of course, you can extend this list as you like.

The chatbot as the perfect friend, never in a bad mood, (almost) always an answer in stock. What began in 1966 with the "ELIZA" system takes ChatGPT to the extreme. "ELIZA" was developed as a virtual psychotherapist that suggests the user to listen to his problems. However, over time it is easy to understand, as it only reacts to certain keywords and otherwise responds with evasive sentences.

ChatGPT also doesn't always know the answer to everything. However, he deals with it very transparently and reminds the user that he is only an artificial intelligence.

To the question "Are you my friend?" ChatGPT answers:

Are you my friend?

As an AI chatbot, I'm not a friend in the traditional sense, but I'm here to help you and answer your questions. My goal is to provide you with a human-like conversation and provide you with information and support when needed. If you need a friend to talk to someone, I'm here to listen.

And if you want to know what distinguishes the chatbot from a human, he has this answer:

What distinguishes you from a human being?

I am an artificial intelligence chatbot and have been trained by OpenAI to have human-like conversations. In contrast, humans are biological beings with their own thoughts, emotions, and experiences.

Some of the most important differences between me and a human are:

1. Cognition: I am a computer program programmed on certain rules and algorithms to answer questions. People have complex consciousness and can think creatively and spontaneously.

2. Emotions: I can talk about emotions and recognize them, but I don't have emotions of my own.

3. Experiences: I have no own experiences or memories, but only access to the data provided to me during my training.

4. Learn: I can learn new information, but only within the limits set by my developers. In contrast, a person can constantly learn new things and evolve.

Maybe this openness makes him so likeable. But ultimately, AI is a tool, at best a kind of "prolonged human". Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the term "extensions of man" in reference to technology. His idea is that technology has no morality in it – it is just a tool that constantly shapes the self-concept of an individual and also of a society.

Such as the smartphone, which brought about immense social changes. And without which modern man feels incomplete. Who knows: Maybe at some point we will feel incomplete even without a chatbot.

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