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What does GPT stand for in ChatGPT?

GPT has become a common term in the AI space, but what does it mean?

Published onApril 23, 2023

ChatGPT stock photo 9
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

It’s hard to escape the buzz surrounding ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that can write like a human. From college essays to computer code, there’s virtually no written task it cannot accomplish. And it’s not just a one-off either — Microsoft’s Bing Chat also relies on GPT-4. That’s a more advanced language model compared to the one used in ChatGPT. So what does the GPT in ChatGPT stand for and why has it become so common all of a sudden?


GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. It refers to the family of large language models that power AI chatbots like ChatGPT. Bing Chat uses GPT-4, while ChatGPT relies on GPT-3.5. Keep reading to know more about GPT and how it works.

What does GPT mean in ChatGPT?

The GPT in ChatGPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. It essentially tells us a bit about how the chatbot’s underlying natural language technology works. Here’s what each word means:

  • Generative: Chatbots like ChatGPT are examples of generative AI. They can write computer code, essays, and engage in human-like dialog without a script. In most cases, they produce brand-new sentences.
  • Pre-trained: According to OpenAI, the language model used for ChatGPT was fed 570GB worth of text as part of its training data.
  • Transformer: The GPT family of large language models use Google’s open-source Transformer architecture under the hood. It’s essentially a deep learning model that can analyze large amounts of text and understand how each word relates to another.

The free version of ChatGPT uses a modified version of GPT-3, which first released in 2020. And if you pay for ChatGPT Plus, you also gain access to the GPT-4 model.

GPT-3 vs GPT-4: What’s the difference?

Bing and ChatGPT icons on a homescreen
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

As you may have guessed by now, we’ve already gone through a few different versions of GPT. The latest release, GPT-4, has improved significantly in terms of accuracy and knowledge. It can also understand different kinds of input, not just text. So for example, you could provide a graph or image instead of a text-based prompt.

In its current state, ChatGPT uses the GPT-3.5 language model. But while it’s technically last-gen technology, our testing has found that it’s still extremely capable. When I pit ChatGPT vs Bard, for example, it managed to handily outperform Google’s chatbot. This is because Google doesn’t use the GPT family for its products. Instead, it has developed its own large language model called LaMDA.

ChatGPT uses a fine-tuned version of GPT-3, but you can also optionally upgrade to GPT-4.

So how does ChatGPT’s model differ from GPT-3? The former was fine-tuned with the help of human workers. that trained the model to respond in a friendly and conversational manner. Developers can still use the base GPT-3 model for their own projects. And on top of that, they can also fine-tune it for their own apps.

If you want to see what OpenAI’s bare language model looks like, you’re in luck. There’s an easy way to access GPT-3 from any web browser.

How to use GPT-3

chatgpt stock photo
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

If you want a glimpse at the inner workings of ChatGPT, you can play around with GPT-3. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the OpenAI Playground webpage.
  2. Click Sign In. You can use the same credentials you use for ChatGPT to log in here since both are OpenAI products.
  3. Simply type a prompt into the textbox and hit Submit. You can compare the results against OpenAI’s chatbot to see how they differ.

As the name suggests, OpenAI’s Playground is customizable according to your needs. The Temperature slider adjusts the randomness of responses, and you can impose a repetition penalty as well. And if you’re not a fan of ChatGPT’s generous character limit, you can change the maximum length slider in the Playground too.



GPT uses Google’s open-source attention-based Transformer architecture.

In the context of AI chatbots like ChatGPT, GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. It hints at the machine learning technology behind ChatGPT.

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