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ChatGPT Releases Brain Implants. GeoSpatial Intelligence is Nigh.

So, in case you missed it, yesterday there was a momentous announcement from OpenAI. They released “ChatGPT Plugins”.

These are essentially brain implants that solve the woeful embarrassment that ChatGPT suffers from when trying to answer basic questions about, for example, mathematics or anything geospatial.

If you want the background on its ineptitude I suggest you read my last post: “ChatGPT (et al) for Geospatial. You Ain’t Seen Nothing… Yet.

I can’t emphasize enough what a big deal this new plugin capability is: it’s just like the scene in the Matrix when the character Trinity is essentially given a plugin to learn how to fly a helicopter:

Only in ChatGPT’s case you can now upload one of these many brains:

ChatGPT Plugins

So now ChatGPT can be immediately be given the power of any one of these sites, for example Expedia and Kayak for booking travel or OpenTable for finding and booking restaurants.

But the one I want to focus on is Wolfram.

For those (few?) of you that might not be familiar, Stephen Wolfram built an amazing site, Wolfram|Alpha, that was released 14 years ago in 2009. One of its key original intents was to be able to answer mathematical questions using a natural language interface. It did so admirably.

Alas, as Stephen Wolfram recently pointed out, this intelligence didn’t make its way into ChatGPT:

ChatGPT Failure on Mathematics
ChatGPT Failure to Compute
Wolfram|Alpha at Work on mathematics
The Correct Answer from Wolfram|Alpha

Stephen Wolfram pointed out ChatGPT’s ineptitude in spades in his article back in January. When I read the article I reached out to Stephen to discuss this in more detail. He put me in touch with Peter Overmann on his team.

Peter has worked at Wolfram|Alpha for many years, but he’s also worked at TomTom, so he knows geospatial. We had some great conversations. It was Peter who kindly gave me the scoop of what was really going on under the covers.

It turned out the ideas that I raised in my post were already being worked on by brains exponentially smarter than mine.

And, as of yesterday, ChatGPT is now also exponentially smarter than it was before:

Wolfram|Alpha in ChatGPT

But since 2009 Wolfram|Alpha has grown significantly. It can now answer questions on a whole host of subjects, not just mathematics:

Wolfram|Alpha capabilities

And now you can access all these capabilities in ChatGPT.

A geospatial example:

Wolfram|Alpha in ChatGPT
Wolfram|Alpha in ChatGPT - Maps
Wolfram|Alpha in ChatGPT - Heat Maps
Wolfram|Alpha in ChatGPT - Map Projections

To learn more please read Stephen’s extensive new article on this new capability: “ChatGPT Gets Its “Wolfram Superpowers”!

If you want to experience it yourself I’m afraid you’re going to have to join a waitlist. Alas I don’t have access yet, so I’ve yet to enjoy these new superpowers myself.

Now while Wolfram|Alpha’s overall capabilities are outstanding, the geospatial capabilities are still, shall we say, somewhat rudimentary.

But as we all know things are moving fast. Very fast.

My question is: who will be the first to plugin a truly powerful geospatial engine into ChatGPT. Will it be:

  • Wolfram|Alpha extending its geospatial chops?
  • Mapbox?
  • Esri?
  • Wolfram|Alpha wrapping Esri?
  • Some new upstart?

It’ll be fun to see.

Stay tuned. I’m sure you won’t have to hold your breath too long.

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