What is ChatGPT and how will it change New Zealand’s job market?


During its first few days online, more than a million people tested Artificial Intelligence software ChatGPT, generating everything from pop lyrics and trivia to articles and medical diagnoses, with sometimes dubious results, AIForumNZ executive director Madeline Newman says

Tech jobs are also changing rapidly and ChatGPT can actually increase productivity of coders 10 times. It is helping conversational engineers who teach chatbots to speak become exponentially more productive and it continues to be a popular topic of conversation.

Chatbots are what you see on your screens, often using a visual representation of a digital human or in a chat text box.

GPT or generative pretrained transformer is an engine that drives what chatbots say. GPT is not the only engine that does this, there are a number of very good alternatives such as BigScience Bloom, Google’s LaMDA and BERT, DeepMind models like Chincilla and AWS’s AlexaTM.

Two years ago an earlier model, GPT-3 was released by OpenAI which showed AI can write and speak with the help of a digital human.

GPT-3.5 was released in 2021 and ChatGPT in November last year. Its successor, GPT-4, is reported to be ready sometime this year. With a link up to MicrosoftAzure’s huge computing power, it’s understood to have added image capability alongside improved language capabilities.

GPT was trained on the entire internet which provided billions of question and answer pairs. This training was then optimised using a process called reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF).

This is a method that uses human demonstrations to guide the model toward desired behaviour. It includes things like multiple choice question and answer sets where the model’s objective is to score the most correct answers.

GPT is very upfront about its own limitations. It’s a language processor not a search engine. It hasn’t been connected to the internet since September 2021, so it can’t perform lookups and some of its data may be out of date or incorrect.

One of the main advantages of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is highly realistic and coherent, which can be useful in a wide range of applications where human-like text is needed. Additionally, it can generate text in multiple languages, making it a useful tool for language-related tasks.

AI will not eat up people’s jobs but AI in today’s world works best as a partner to humans.

We are seeing lots of examples of AI helping humans to do their jobs better and make better decisions in things like health diagnostics.

Responsible AI is important. We are actively promoting the adoption of AI that is good for Aotearoa.


The AIForum is a part of the NZTech Alliance and brings together New Zealand’s artificial intelligence community to harness the power of AI technologies to helping New Zealand thrive. The AIForumNZ is holding an online event on February 22 to discuss the impact of ChatGPT in education.