What is Generative AI? A Comprehensive Guide for Everyone | by Mary Newhauser | Oct, 2023

Understand the role of machine learning in generative AI.

Comprehensive guide to generative AI in machine learning
Image by the author.

This article was originally published on GPTech.

At first glance, generative AI looks like pure magic. But once you start to peel back the layers behind this fascinating technology, you see it for what it is: a statistical process with both impressive results and critical limitations.

In its broadest sense, generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that creates novel content based on patterns learned from existing data. Perhaps the most obvious example of generative AI is predictive search. Google trains a large language model (LLM) on billions of search queries made by users over the years, which then tries to predict the next word in your own search query.

But predictive search is old school, even primitive, compared to recent advancements in generative AI. Generative AI can now be used to write everything from new Seinfeld episodes to scholarly articles, synthesize images based on text prompts, and even produce songs in the likeness of famous artists.

Despite the hype, there is cause for concern. Chatbots powered by generative AI can produce inaccurate and toxic responses, deepfake videos of politicians and public figures can be used for spreading disinformation, and models of any kind can be used to reinforce existing human biases.

It’s clear that generative AI will impact labor, industry, government, and even what it means to be human. In order to coexist with generative AI, we need to understand how it works and the risks it poses. This article will explain what a machine learning model is, discuss the difference between discriminative and generative models, explore some real-world applications of generative models, and touch on their risks and limitations.

Artificial intelligence is a broad term that describes a piece of technology that can perform tasks that mimic human intelligence, such as those requiring reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, or language understanding.

Machine learning is a branch of AI in which “machines” (algorithms) “learn” patterns and…

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