The real McCoy.
I’m sure you’ve heard or possibly even used that famous catchphrase. We refer to something or somebody as the real McCoy when we are aiming to clarify that the matter at hand involves the genuine article, the real thing, or the bona fide one-and-only. No knock-off counts as the real McCoy. Anything other than the honest-to-goodness real deal just doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to getting the revered real McCoy moniker.
There are lots of interesting claims about how the phrase itself initially arose. I’ll share with you my two favored versions, though please know that there are plenty more such tales indicating what prompted the real McCoy confabulation.
One story contends that a boxing champion known by his fighting name as Kid McCoy was in a bar one night and a fellow bar patron doubted the identity of the said boxer. Supposedly, the boxer punched the doubter and completely knocked the man to the floor. Upon getting up, the dazed questioner proclaimed that indeed he must have been clocked by the real McCoy. Voila, the catchphrase was born (if you buy into this tale).
That was a pretty catchy and stirring version.
Another contention surrounds the story of an inventor known as Elijah McCoy. He reportedly devised a special device for lubricating the engines of trains. The device became indispensable. Railroads everywhere clamored to obtain and utilize the invention. Meanwhile, cheap and marginal knockoffs flooded the marketplace. The easiest way to ensure that you were not going to get ripped off was to insist on obtaining and using the real McCoy. Voila, the catchphrase was born (so this story says).
This alternative version of the origin doesn’t seem as exciting as the first one that I mentioned. Take your pick or you might consider the dozen or more other historical contentions of the origin story that can be found readily online.
I bring up the real McCopy phrasing because it has a notable bone to pick when it comes to a recent bonanza in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Here’s the deal.
There is a type of AI known as generative AI that has recently garnered enormous headlines and gained the enthralled attention of the public at large. The most notable of the existing generative AI apps is one called ChatGPT which is devised by the firm OpenAI. There are purportedly around a million registered users for ChatGPT. The odds are that there would be a lot more registered users were it not for the fact that OpenAI opted to cap the user base at the million mark.
ChatGPT is the 600-pound gorilla of generative AI.
It is the elephant in the room. It is the big kahuna. You could say that single-handedly this particular app has put generative AI on the map of social consciousness about AI across the globe.
As an aside, all of this fame for ChatGPT has gotten the goat of many others in the AI field. The reality is that there are other generative AI apps out there. Some of them have been released publicly, some are only available for designated AI researchers. The bottom line is that there is an insider sense of grousing that only one particular generative AI app is getting all the attention.
Unfair, they proclaim. Look at me too, some insist. Others are quick to make smarmy remarks about ChatGPT. It isn’t as good as this or that other generative AI. Another acidic comment is that ChatGPT is pandering to the populace. Rather than focusing on important AI work, ChatGPT is only opting to entertain the masses. Ouch, you can imagine how those types of remarks tend to sting.
The thing is, those caustic barbs constitute nothing more than a semblance of gnats or tiny flies that might be irritating though nonetheless are not going to derail the ChatGPT juggernaut. Sticks and stones might break one’s bones, but all this name-calling isn’t making nary a dent.
I guess you could say that ChatGPT is the real McCoy when it comes to being ChatGPT.
Allow me to explain. As indicated, other generative AI apps are at times relatively similar to ChatGPT, and others are quite far functionally from ChatGPT. The problem many of those AI makers face is that nobody seems to care about anything other than ChatGPT. You can talk and talk until you are blue in the face that your generative AI is on par with ChatGPT. The reaction you will likely get is that it isn’t the real McCoy.
Furthermore, even if you make an amazing AI app that has nothing to do with generative AI at all, you are considered unimportant or uneventful in contrast to the esteemed and venerated generative AI and ChatGPT. If you can’t get people to logically connect your AI with something akin to ChatGPT, they basically don’t care about it. This is being harshly discovered by AI startups that go to investors such as Venture Capital (VC) firms to pitch their AI wares.
Is this like ChatGPT, you are asked outright.
If the answer is No, you might summarily and politely be escorted out the door and told to come back with something more in tune with today’s hotness. AI developers cringe to say Yes when they know in their hearts of hearts that the AI app being pitched isn’t generative AI and isn’t like ChatGPT, yet still has tremendous promise and might be the next big thing. Perhaps it might be okay then to bite your tongue and indicate that sure, yes, the AI app is somewhat kind-of maybe like ChatGPT. Best to stay in the room and complete your pitch rather than standing outside wondering what might have been.
The gist of all of this is that a slew of clever or perhaps insidious efforts are underway and emerging to imply that your AI is ChatGPT even when it isn’t.
The overarching idea is that you might at least garner the heady aura and excitement of ChatGPT by alluding to the claim or suggestion that your AI app is either ChatGPT or a kind of familial cousin. The aim would appear to be that you need to get as close to being perceived as ChatGPT as feasible, without running into any untoward legal complications. You want the ChatGPT afterglow while not landing you in the legal doghouse as to making false claims that might give rise to lawsuits or prosecution.
Into all of this comes a slew of AI Ethics and AI Law considerations.
Please be aware that there are ongoing efforts to imbue Ethical AI principles into the development and fielding of AI apps. A growing contingent of concerned and erstwhile AI ethicists are trying to ensure that efforts to devise and adopt AI takes into account a view of doing AI For Good and averting AI For Bad. Likewise, there are proposed new AI laws that are being bandied around as potential solutions to keep AI endeavors from going amok on human rights and the like. For my ongoing and extensive coverage of AI Ethics and AI Law, see the link here and the link here, just to name a few.
The development and promulgation of Ethical AI precepts are being pursued to hopefully prevent society from falling into a myriad of AI-inducing traps. For my coverage of the UN AI Ethics principles as devised and supported by nearly 200 countries via the efforts of UNESCO, see the link here. In a similar vein, new AI laws are being explored to try and keep AI on an even keel. One of the latest takes consists of a set of proposed AI Bill of Rights that the U.S. White House recently released to identify human rights in an age of AI, see the link here. It takes a village to keep AI and AI developers on a rightful path and deter the purposeful or accidental underhanded efforts that might undercut society.
Consider how AI Ethics can enter into this particular topic about associating other AI with ChatGPT.
If an AI maker suggests that their AI app is akin to ChatGPT, while let’s say that in real terms it isn’t, does this get that AI maker into unsavory Ethical AI territory? You might argue that as long as they do not explicitly claim to be ChatGPT, they are off the hook. Just about anything could be said to be similar to anything else. Thus, this should be a buyer-beware consideration. The person or persons being told that your AI is akin to ChatGPT needs to bear the responsibility for verifying or validating such a claim. That’s not on your shoulders.
Whoa, the retort goes, you cannot be going around pulling the wool over people’s eyes. It is morally wrong to claim that your AI is akin to ChatGPT if there isn’t a true and compelling case to be made. Do not stretch the truth to make a buck. Tell what you can showcase and what you earnestly can prove to be the case.
Where do you sit on this AI Ethics conundrum?
On the AI Laws side of things, those that go overboard on making suggestions or claims that their AI is ChatGPT or the spitting image thereof are also at potential risk from existing laws, let alone whatever new AI laws are ultimately put on the books. I will share with you how the looming specter of lawsuits and the like could strike at those that have taken a bridge too far in their attempts to surreptitiously and sometimes falsely tie themselves to the 600-pound gorilla.
We have some exciting unpacking to do on this heady topic.
First, we ought to make sure that we are all on the same page about what Generative AI consists of and also what ChatGPT is all about. Once we cover that foundational facet, we can perform a cogent assessment of this weighty matter.
If you are already abundantly familiar with Generative AI and ChatGPT, you can perhaps skim the next section and proceed with the section that follows it. I believe that everyone else will find instructive the vital details about these matters by closely reading the section and getting up-to-speed.
A Quick Primer About Generative AI And ChatGPT
ChatGPT is a general-purpose AI interactive conversational-oriented system, essentially a seemingly innocuous general chatbot, nonetheless, it is actively and avidly being used by people in ways that are catching many entirely off-guard, as I’ll elaborate shortly. This AI app leverages a technique and technology in the AI realm that is often referred to as Generative AI. The AI generates outputs such as text, which is what ChatGPT does. Other generative-based AI apps produce images such as pictures or artwork, while others generate audio files or videos.
I’ll focus on the text-based generative AI apps in this discussion since that’s what ChatGPT does.
Generative AI apps are exceedingly easy to use.
All you need to do is enter a prompt and the AI app will generate for you an essay that attempts to respond to your prompt. The composed text will seem as though the essay was written by the human hand and mind. If you were to enter a prompt that said “Tell me about Abraham Lincoln” the generative AI will provide you with an essay about Lincoln. This is commonly classified as generative AI that performs text-to-text or some prefer to call it text-to-essay output. As mentioned, there are other modes of generative AI, such as text-to-art and text-to-video.
Your first thought might be that this generative capability does not seem like such a big deal in terms of producing essays. You can easily do an online search of the Internet and readily find tons and tons of essays about President Lincoln. The kicker in the case of generative AI is that the generated essay is relatively unique and provides an original composition rather than a copycat. If you were to try and find the AI-produced essay online someplace, you would be unlikely to discover it.
Generative AI is pre-trained and makes use of a complex mathematical and computational formulation that has been set up by examining patterns in written words and stories across the web. As a result of examining thousands and millions of written passages, the AI can spew out new essays and stories that are a mishmash of what was found. By adding in various probabilistic functionality, the resulting text is pretty much unique in comparison to what has been used in the training set.
That’s why there has been an uproar about students being able to cheat when writing essays outside of the classroom. A teacher cannot merely take the essay that deceitful students assert is their own writing and seek to find out whether it was copied from some other online source. Overall, there won’t be any definitive preexisting essay online that fits the AI-generated essay. All told, the teacher will have to begrudgingly accept that the student wrote the essay as an original piece of work.
There are additional concerns about generative AI.
One crucial downside is that the essays produced by a generative-based AI app can have various falsehoods embedded, including patently untrue facts, facts that are misleadingly portrayed, and apparent facts that are entirely fabricated. Those fabricated aspects are often referred to as a form of AI hallucinations, a catchphrase that I disfavor but lamentedly seems to be gaining popular traction anyway (for my detailed explanation about why this is lousy and unsuitable terminology, see my coverage at the link here).
I’d like to clarify one important aspect before we get into the thick of things on this topic.
There have been some zany outsized claims on social media about Generative AI asserting that this latest version of AI is in fact sentient AI (nope, they are wrong!). Those in AI Ethics and AI Law are notably worried about this burgeoning trend of outstretched claims. You might politely say that some people are overstating what today’s AI can actually do. They assume that AI has capabilities that we haven’t yet been able to achieve. That’s unfortunate. Worse still, they can allow themselves and others to get into dire situations because of an assumption that the AI will be sentient or human-like in being able to take action.
Do not anthropomorphize AI.
Doing so will get you caught in a sticky and dour reliance trap of expecting the AI to do things it is unable to perform. With that being said, the latest in generative AI is relatively impressive for what it can do. Be aware though that there are significant limitations that you ought to continually keep in mind when using any generative AI app.
If you are interested in the rapidly expanding commotion about ChatGPT and Generative AI all told, I’ve been doing a focused series in my column that you might find informative. Here’s a glance in case any of these topics catch your fancy:
- 1) Predictions Of Generative AI Advances Coming. If you want to know what is likely to unfold about AI throughout 2023 and beyond, including upcoming advances in generative AI and ChatGPT, you’ll want to read my comprehensive list of 2023 predictions at the link here.
- 2) Generative AI and Mental Health Advice. I opted to review how generative AI and ChatGPT are being used for mental health advice, a troublesome trend, per my focused analysis at the link here.
- 3) Fundamentals Of Generative AI And ChatGPT. This piece explores the key elements of how generative AI works and in particular delves into the ChatGPT app, including an analysis of the buzz and fanfare, at the link here.
- 4) Tension Between Teachers And Students Over Generative AI And ChatGPT. Here are the ways that students will deviously use generative AI and ChatGPT. In addition, there are several ways for teachers to contend with this tidal wave. See the link here.
- 5) Context And Generative AI Use. I also did a seasonally flavored tongue-in-cheek examination about a Santa-related context involving ChatGPT and generative AI at the link here.
- 6) Scammers Using Generative AI. On an ominous note, some scammers have figured out how to use generative AI and ChatGPT to do wrongdoing, including generating scam emails and even producing programming code for malware, see my analysis at the link here.
- 7) Rookie Mistakes Using Generative AI. Many people are both overshooting and surprisingly undershooting what generative AI and ChatGPT can do, so I looked especially at the undershooting that AI rookies tend to make, see the discussion at the link here.
- 8) Coping With Generative AI Prompts And AI Hallucinations. I describe a leading-edge approach to using AI add-ons to deal with the various issues associated with trying to enter suitable prompts into generative AI, plus there are additional AI add-ons for detecting so-called AI hallucinated outputs and falsehoods, as covered at the link here.
- 9) Debunking Bonehead Claims About Detecting Generative AI-Produced Essays. There is a misguided gold rush of AI apps that proclaim to be able to ascertain whether any given essay was human-produced versus AI-generated. Overall, this is misleading and in some cases, a boneheaded and untenable claim, see my coverage at the link here.
- 10) Role-Playing Via Generative AI Might Portend Mental Health Drawbacks. Some are using generative AI such as ChatGPT to do role-playing, whereby the AI app responds to a human as though existing in a fantasy world or other made-up setting. This could have mental health repercussions, see the link here.
- 11) Exposing The Range Of Outputted Errors and Falsehoods. Various collected lists are being put together to try and showcase the nature of ChatGPT-produced errors and falsehoods. Some believe this is essential, while others say that the exercise is futile, see my analysis at the link here.
- 12) Schools Banning Generative AI ChatGPT Are Missing The Boat. You might know that various schools such as the New York City (NYC) Department of Education have declared a ban on the use of ChatGPT on their network and associated devices. Though this might seem a helpful precaution, it won’t move the needle and sadly entirely misses the boat, see my coverage at the link here.
- 13) Generative AI ChatGPT Is Going To Be Everywhere Due To The Upcoming API. There is an important twist coming up about the use of ChatGPT, namely that via the use of an API portal into this particular AI app, other software programs will be able to invoke and utilize ChatGPT. This is going to dramatically expand the use of generative AI and has notable consequences, see my elaboration at the link here.
- 14) Ways That ChatGPT Might Fizzle Or Melt Down. Several potential vexing issues lay ahead of ChatGPT in terms of undercutting the so far tremendous praise it has received. This analysis closely examines eight possible problems that could cause ChatGPT to lose its steam and even end up in the doghouse, see the link here.
- 15) Asking Whether Generative AI ChatGPT Is A Mirror Into The Soul. Some people have been crowing that generative AI such as ChatGPT provides a mirror into the soul of humanity. This seems quite doubtful. Here is the way to understand all this, see the link here.
- 16) Confidentiality And Privacy Gobbled Up By ChatGPT. Many do not seem to realize that the licensing associated with generative AI apps such as ChatGPT often allows for the AI maker to see and utilize your entered prompts. You could be at risk of privacy and a loss of data confidentiality, see my assessment at the link here.
You might find of interest that ChatGPT is based on a version of a predecessor AI app known as GPT-3. ChatGPT is considered to be a slightly next step, referred to as GPT-3.5. It is anticipated that GPT-4 will likely be released in the Spring of 2023. Presumably, GPT-4 is going to be an impressive step forward in terms of being able to produce seemingly even more fluent essays, going deeper, and being an awe-inspiring marvel as to the compositions that it can produce.
You can expect to see a new round of expressed wonderment when springtime comes along and the latest in generative AI is released.
I bring this up because there is another angle to keep in mind, consisting of a potential Achilles heel to these better and bigger generative AI apps. If any AI vendor makes available a generative AI app that frothily spews out foulness, this could dash the hopes of those AI makers. A societal spillover can cause all generative AI to get a serious black eye. People will undoubtedly get quite upset at foul outputs, which have happened many times already and led to boisterous societal condemnation backlashes toward AI.
One final forewarning for now.
Whatever you see or read in a generative AI response that seems to be conveyed as purely factual (dates, places, people, etc.), make sure to remain skeptical and be willing to double-check what you see.
Yes, dates can be concocted, places can be made up, and elements that we usually expect to be above reproach are all subject to suspicions. Do not believe what you read and keep a skeptical eye when examining any generative AI essays or outputs. If a generative AI app tells you that Abraham Lincoln flew around the country in his own private jet, you would undoubtedly know that this is malarky. Unfortunately, some people might not realize that jets weren’t around in his day, or they might know but fail to notice that the essay makes this brazen and outrageously false claim.
A strong dose of healthy skepticism and a persistent mindset of disbelief will be your best asset when using generative AI.
We are ready to move into the next stage of this elucidation.
Trying To Exploit The ChatGPT Bandwagon
Now that we’ve got the fundamentals established, we can dive into the real McCoy considerations when it comes to generative AI and ChatGPT.
Consider these two major categories:
- Non-AI app that wants to be associated with AI and in particular ChatGPT
- AI app that wants to be associated with generative AI and ChatGPT
I’ll start my elucidation with the first bulleted point, namely the use case of someone that has a non-AI app and they want to associate their app with AI and in particular ChatGPT.
Here’s what is happening.
Makers of non-AI apps are trying to get on the ChatGPT bandwagon. By doing so, their app might get utilized. Associating your app with ChatGPT could get you a lot of eyeballs and downloads. And money too. The temptation to ride the gushing wave of elation for ChatGPT is irresistible.
Some apps that heretofore had nothing to do with AI are sprinting forward to connect their apps with AI. At this time, connecting your app to ChatGPT is somewhat problematic due to the API has not yet been made available for use by other apps (see my discussion at the link here, also keep in mind that the API is said to be coming soon and ergo we will likely soon be awash with other apps using ChatGPT).
The next best thing, for now, seems to potentially be doing a wraparound ChatGPT per se. You develop an app that invokes ChatGPT as though an end-user was doing so. This is a crude approach and not especially sustainable. The API will be a more robust avenue.
The next of those potential “best things” would seem to be using an API to connect with GPT-3.5 or GPT-3, assuming that you want to be as close to using ChatGPT as possible. You can presumably hold your head high when saying that your app is somewhat connected with ChatGPT because you are in the same family (well, this is still arguable, but you get the drift).
Yet another path would be to associate your non-AI app with someone else’s AI, whether a generative AI app or some other kind of AI app. The difficulty though is that you are unlikely to garner as much attention by saying that your app now uses the Widget AI app, whereas everyone knows about ChatGPT but they haven’t heard about the Widget AI app.
This somewhat takes us to my second bulleted point above. An AI maker is bound to want their AI to be associated with ChatGPT, hoping that people will take notice of their AI app. One outcome would be that people might use the AI app in lieu of using ChatGPT. There is also the aim that other non-AI apps that are looking to connect their app with an AI app will pick your AI app due to the assumption or allusion that it is akin to or somehow connected with ChatGPT.
Now that I’ve covered that essential ground, we can consider ways of seeking to associate with ChatGPT.
Here is my devised list of ten core ways that some are seeking to hold the tail of the tiger by associating their apps with the famed ChatGPT (my first bulleted point encompasses the genuine case). To clarify, I am not saying that these are necessarily wrong or otherwise suspect, and only providing them herein for discussion purposes and to raise awareness of what you might not have yet noticed:
- 1) Valid claim: Does use ChatGPT and in a bona fide aboveboard way
- 2) Claim to be using ChatGPT when is not at all doing so (outright falsehood)
- 3) Claim to be using ChatGPT even though usage is hollow and marginal (slippery contention)
- 4) Use GPT-3.5 or GPT-3 and indicate you are in the ChatGPT familial realm
- 5) Imply you are using ChatGPT by stating that an app uses ChatGPT-like AI
- 6) Add modifiers in front of the ChatGPT moniker such as “equivalent to ChatGPT”
- 7) Append qualifiers at the end of ChatGPT moniker such as ChatGPT-like, ChatGPT-lite, etc.
- 8) Exploit the GPT popularization partially due to ChatGPT moniker, via inclusion such as CookingGPT, MedicalGPT, etc.
- 9) Indicate generically Generative AI, Transformer, Large Language Model (LLM), etc. in place of stating ChatGPT
- 10) Other
Let’s do a brief unpacking about those variants.
The most blatant approach would be to claim that an app is using ChatGPT when this isn’t occurring at all. One supposes that this could bring forth the ire of AI Ethics and the long arm of the law in terms of AI Laws. If you are making unabashed lies about what your app does, this certainly seems to be an opening for lawsuits to be launched by those that relied upon your assertions. They might try to claim that some forms of monetary damages were incurred by reliance upon the brazenly untrue promise. In addition, other existing laws including criminal laws might come to bear too such as false advertising and the like.
It seems that few are willing to go that far out on a limb. As such, the usual approach entails all manner of implied connotations. For example, claiming that an app is ChatGPT-like would appear to be a hedge against getting nailed for being nefarious. You can always point out that you didn’t distinctly say that your app was using ChatGPT. It was simply ChatGPT-like. Whether this legally holds water is something you should be worrying about.
Now then, observe that the phrasing of ChatGPT-like is sometimes being used, as are other variations such as ChatGPT-lite, ChatGPT-super, etc.
This brings up an absorbing added question.
You undoubtedly know that in the U.S. there are laws and regulations associated with Intellectual Property (IP). According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Ofice (USPTO), here is the definition of a particular type of IP that we all know as a trademark:
- “A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. It’s how customers recognize you in the marketplace and distinguish you from your competitors. The word ‘trademark’ can refer to both trademarks and service marks. A trademark is used for goods, while a service mark is used for services. A trademark: (1) Identifies the source of your goods or services, (2) Provides legal protection for your brand, (3) Helps you guard against counterfeiting and fraud.” (per the USPTO website).
The general public realizes that trademarks are important. Companies often depend upon their trademarks for their ongoing business efforts and use those trademarks for selling goods to consumers and other businesses. Protecting a trademark is vital, both strategically and tactically for the survival and growth of a business.
You might not realize that legally owning a trademark does not give you unfettered protection. The USPTO depicts succinctly this notion:
- “A common misconception is that having a trademark means you legally own a particular word or phrase and can prevent others from using it. However, you don’t have rights to the word or phrase in general, only to how that word or phrase is used with your specific goods or services. For example, let’s say you use a logo as a trademark for your small woodworking business to identify and distinguish your goods or services from others in the woodworking field. This doesn’t mean you can stop others from using a similar logo for non-woodworking related goods or services.” (ibid).
A fascinating area of the law has to do with IP and especially trademarks. Given that there is leeway in how far your trademark can be stretched, zillions of legal cases arise over this legally allowed latitude. The owner of a trademark might believe that someone else has gone beyond the proper bounds. They then legally sue to stop the trademark infringement. The party being sued will likely attempt to argue that the trademark owner is seeking to go outside their legal protection and as such the other use of the trademark ought to be allowed.
Round and round these legal cases go.
You might be wondering, just who does own the ChatGPT trademark?
According to an online trademarks database, OpenAI owns a trademark of “ChatGPT” (serial number 97733261) and the purported description is this:
- “Downloadable computer programs and downloadable computer software for the artificial production of human speech and text; downloadable computer programs and downloadable computer software for natural language processing, generation, understanding and analysis; downloadable computer programs and downloadable computer software for machine-learning based language and speech processing software; downloadable computer chatbot software for simulating conversations; downloadable computer programs and downloadable computer software for creating and generating text.”
- “Providing online non-downloadable software for the artificial production of human speech and text; providing online non-downloadable software for natural language processing, generation, understanding and analysis; providing online non-downloadable software for machine-learning based language and speech processing software; providing online non-downloadable chatbot software for simulating conversations; providing online non-downloadable software for creating and generating text; research and development services in the field of artificial intelligence; research, design and development of computer programs and software.” (per online postings by Trademark Genius).
Ponder this heady question:
- Do those that are trying to shall we say extend or extrapolate the ChatGPT trademark by indicating ChatGPT-like, ChatGPT-lite, and the rest, do they do so with a potential brush with legal repercussions on an IP trademark infringement basis?
I’ll just touch upon this murky quagmire question in today’s discussion.
If readers of this discussion indicate sufficient interest in this specific topic, I’ll readily devote a column posting to digging into the fascinating details and nuances involved. As a teaser, there are other apparently registered trademarks that come to play, such as a “ChatGPT” trademarked for claimed entertainment purposes, plus yet another instance though involving an expanded wording of ChatGPT with an added modifier. Lots of food for thought and fodder for analysis.
You might be thinking that OpenAI should be going flat-out and noisily alerting those that are playing around with things like ChatGPT-like and ChatGPT-lite that they are playing with fire. Make a sizable press splash about it. Show them you mean business. The big-time AI maker has the kind of money and resources to come down on those (presumed) infringers. Drag them into court. Wear them out. Get them to defend their uses of the trademark. Prevail over them legally or get them to settle and stop the claimed infringement.
On the other hand, there is a bit of an advantage to letting some of this usage exist. You could argue that these uses tend to boost the ChatGPT branding in the eyes of the public. In a sense, these other uses are further demonstrating the golden nature of the brand. The public relations boon as a result of the ChatGPT naming has avidly fueled the fame and fortunes of the AI maker. Plus, some might get upset if a heavy hand is used in this circumstance, springing forth exhortations of overstepping into an unpleasant David versus Goliath situation. The resulting tarnishing might not be worth the upright soldiering.
A problem though confronts any owner of a trademark. If the trademark is allowed to remain floating in the open for widespread use, there is the danger that the protections of the trademark will inevitably falter or evaporate. For example, Aspirin started as a trademark and eventually worked its way into everyday language. Xerox has had a similar challenge, given that people had tended to say that you copy your papers by “xeroxing” them. And so on.
You have to be mindful and protect your brand.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” says the legendary line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
You can interpret that poetic assertion in two ways here.
First, there is the postulated contention that a rose is a rose. In this context, the argument is that it ought to not matter whether an app is using ChatGPT or not, as long as the AI that is under the hood does the same functions.
Second, the problem though is that there is a large sway as to what you mean by doing the same functions. ChatGPT is a particular kind of rose. No other rose is precisely identical. Other roses might be similar, but they aren’t the real McCoy (if you define the real McCoy as being ChatGPT). The scent from just any rose is not going to be precisely identical (please realize that those other scents might be equal to, worse than, or even better than the one that you hold in your hand; it all depends).
A final thought on this for now.
How long will ChatGPT remain in the spotlight?
Some say that ChatGPT is getting its full fifteen minutes of fame and will eventually fade from view. The belief is that some other AI will be brought to the marketplace and eclipse ChatGPT. Whereas today the bright light shines upon ChatGPT, it could be one amongst many after the spotlight shifts to something else.
You can discern why others want in on the existent and perhaps momentary fame bonanza. Some seem to exasperatingly argue that lots of other AI are getting unfairly shunned or placed on the back burner. To right that perceived wrong, go ahead and tie into the incredible tailwinds propelling forward the AI that everyone today is talking about. Unfortunately, some schemers and scammers want into that same lifeboat. It can be hard to figure out the reasonable ones from the deceptive ones.
There is a truism when dealing with AI, namely that the advent of AI has boosted the proverb “may you live in interesting times.” Generative AI and the ardent focus on ChatGPT are irrefutably making for quite interesting times.
Make sure to stay tuned.