This 22-year-old is trying to save us from ChatGPT before it changes writing forever : Planet Money : NPR

Edward Tian

While many Americans were nursing hangovers on New Year’s Day, 22-year-old Edward Tian was working feverishly on a new app to combat misuse of a powerful, new artificial intelligence tool called ChatGPT.

Given the buzz it’s created, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about ChatGPT. It’s an interactive chatbot powered by machine learning. The technology has basically devoured the entire Internet, reading the collective works of humanity and learning patterns in language that it can recreate. All you have to do is give it a prompt, and ChatGPT can do an endless array of things: write a story in a particular style, answer a question, explain a concept, compose an email — write a college essay — and it will spit out coherent, seemingly human-written text in seconds.

The technology is both awesome — and terrifying.

“I think we’re absolutely at an inflection point,” Edward says. “This technology is incredible. I do believe it’s the future. But, at the same time, it’s like we’re opening Pandora’s Box. And we need safeguards to adopt it responsibly.”

Edward is a senior at Princeton University, where he majors in computer science and minors in journalism. Before his recent foray into the limelight, Edward’s biggest plans were graduating college and getting his wisdom teeth pulled. Now he’s fielding calls from venture capital firms, education leaders, and global media outlets.

Over the last couple years, Edward has been studying an AI system called GPT-3, a predecessor to ChatGPT that was less user-friendly and largely inaccessible to the general public because it was behind a paywall. As part of his studies this fall semester,…

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