I was never afraid to train an AI chatbot on my writing, because OpenAI had already broken the seal. CEO Sam Altman announced the “GPT” feature at OpenAI’s first developer day in November, prior to the company’s five days of leadership chaos. Before the release of custom GPTs, ChatGPT with web browsing was already able to plunder my writing for answers to questions about everything, from using better prompts to understanding niche creepypastas.
So, what the hell! Why not wrestle around with the chatbot and see if it can mimic me tout à fait? Together, let’s see how far we can trek into the uncanny valley with AI and learn how to make one of these so-called GPTs using OpenAI’s tools.
Like most of OpenAI’s newest drops, only those with a $20-a-month subscription to ChatGPT Plus are allowed to experiment with the GPT builder. (GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer.)
“We know that people want AI that is smarter, more personal, more customizable, and can do more on your behalf,” Altman said at the developer day. “Eventually, you’ll just ask a computer for what you need, and it’ll do all of these tasks for you.” He described GPTs as a fine-tuned version of ChatGPT that’s crafted with a specific purpose in mind. The customizable chatbot can be fed unique instructions to guide its answers and additional data for further context.
It’s not just beefed up context for the chatbot; GPTs can interact with software in winsome ways. “We’ve evolved our plug-ins to be custom actions for GPTs,” said Altman. Jessica Shay, an OpenAI staff member, demonstrated how one of the tools built by Zapier could spot conflicts in your calendar and send Slack messages to coworkers on your behalf.
Mimic Me, GPT
As complicated as it may sound, you don’t need an advanced degree in computer science to create one of these—just a loose grasp of the English language and little free time. To get started, log in to OpenAI’s website and visit the main page for ChatGPT. Click on Explore in the top-left corner of your screen. Then, scroll down to see a few examples of GPTs, like a chatbot that explains complicated board games, one that helps you do data analysis, and one that can teach you how to make wicked mocktails.
Play around a little with these examples to see how it differs from the typical ChatGPT experience. Whenever you’re ready to embark on your own creative adventure, return to this page and click Create a GPT. Your screen will split in half: the left side is where you’re building the tool, and the ride side displays an interactive preview of your GPT.
Before toggling over to the Configure tab, make sure to start your build in the Create section where you can prompt the chatbot with some information about your goals for the novel GPT and how it should react. I introduced myself to the AI and shared that I was looking for a chatbot that could mimic my writing—and potentially even replace me. At first, it suggested two names for the GPT that seemed a little dry, Tech Scribe and Wired Wordsmith, but the third option it threw out, Reece’s Replica, felt perfect, even if it made me a little uneasy.