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Using the GPT Store for your academic work

This week, OpenAI released its GPT store, and pundits were forecasting everything from a total revolution to a total flop. One thing is sure: It is an excellent repository to learn what is possible with ChatGPT and where the AI development is currently headed. In this article, we will dive into some examples of GPTs that do more than text and some ideas on how AI transforms our lives.


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What are GPTs?

If you want ChatGPT to solve a complex task, you usually need a complex prompt. But writing a long prompt whenever you want to solve a task is impractical. This is the problem that GPTs solve. They allow you to add instructions and files to ChatGPT and then bundle it as a bot. This bot is now much easier to converse with than previously.

If you want to learn how to build your own bot check out my tutorial on building GPTs.

What is the GPT store?

The GPT store is a repository of all GPTs created by people. Over 3 million GPTs have been submitted already. It was launched on Jan 10th, 2024. Currently, it is not monetized, but plans exist to start with monetizing GPTs in the following months.

One of the worldwide top bots is the ConsensusBot, a tool that finds research papers and analyzes their content. A great day for science!

AI Trends in Academia

Having debates with my colleagues about AI and technology, I notice that AI opinions fall into one of three camps:

  • Enthusiasm (I use it all the time)
  • Aversion (I hate ChatGPT, it’s not “real”)
  • Ambivalence (I just don’t follow the news so much)

This is typical for all new and groundbreaking technology – think of the internet, online banking, or even using credit cards at Burger King. But as Mustafa Suleyman, in his recent book on AI, “The Coming Wave,” points out:

“From where we stand today, it appears that containing this wave—that is, controlling, curbing, or even stopping it—is not possible.”

The Coming Wave, Mustafa Suleyman Michael Bhaskar

That means that aversion is not an option in the long run and ignorance means you are missing out on something that we will use anyway. Therefore, I think it is best to embrace and familiarize myself with this technology. It is still at the very early stages of becoming useful. But don’t be deterred by bugs, hallucinations, or how long it sometimes takes to analyze an image with AI; all of this will be solved in the near future.

What we need to embrace the technology is creativity. Everybody can use ChatGPT, but how many use cases do you know besides summarizing texts? How many of them can you do better with AI than by hand? The result: You don’t use it much, have fewer ideas, and change your category from “enthusiastic” to “ambivalent.”

In my recent course Effortless AI I talk about the 3 hurdles we need to overcome to make the best of AI:

  • Superstition (Understand how AI works and what it can do)
  • Creativity (Come up with novel use-cases)
  • Skill (Learn to communicate with AI)

Achieve 10x efficiency in research, learning, and everyday tasks with ChatGPT bots. This course takes you from knowing nothing to using the most cutting-edge techniques most people don’t know about in just a few hours.


5 Top GPTs for Academics

In this section, I would like to introduce you to a few GPT bots that I found very useful. You will need a premium ChatGPT subscription to use them. I found the investment well worth the output. ChatGPT is quickly becoming a platform that bundles access to multiple websites and services in a unified interface.

Scholar AI GPT

This bot is a great way to start your literature review. In my test I asked it to come up with reasons why plants shift their ranges and it gave me 20 really great and nuanced reasons with exact citations. Some of the reasons and citations did not quite apply to my case or were a little bit too niche and specific but it is immensely more satisfying to start your literature review journey this way as opposed to using google.
Link to Scholar AI GPT.

Ai PDF GPT

While I am usually not a big fan of Chat-with-PDF approaches, this one stands out because it allows you to upload large, complex, and numerous PDFs to have a conversation with. The most significant limitation here is the context length (e.g., the amount of information in ChatGPT’s “memory”). To overcome this, bots can summarize large documents and access them only as needed, which I suppose is the secret of this GPT.
Link to Ai PDF GPT

AskTheCode GPT

If your work involves using various Github repositories, e.g., for multiple packages that solve specific tasks, this GPT is fantastic. If you want to know anything about the repository, where to find particular parts of the code or make any changes, just provide a link and ask. Simple and useful.

Link to AskTheCode GPT

Consensus GPT

Consensus searches among 200M papers for, as the name suggests, consensus. This means it works best on questions that are yes-no nature (e.g., does caloric restriction prolong lifespan?). The bot, however, adds an additional layer to the knowledge Consensus already has, and that is writing. It can help with outlining a paper on a controversial topic.

Link to Consensus GPT

Academic Assistant Pro

This is a writing assistant for academics. It does not provide any citations but gives you an excellent step-by-step instructions on how to structure your paper. At the moment at least I think it is best to stay away from using ChatGPT to actually write and instead use it to help with structure, paraphrasing and direction.

Link to Academic Assistant Pro

Summary

ChatGPT is becoming the most versatile AI tool out there, and the GPTs in the newly opened store make it much more relevant. Think of GPTs as experts knowing a narrow skill you want to integrate into your work. Just like asking a statistician about a problem does not require them to know your domain (e.g. ecology), you can create a bot to help you with statistics! The challenge becomes communicating your tasks in a way that the AI will understand – this is a skill we all will need to learn in the near future.

If you want to start building your own bots to help you with everyday tasks, check out the Effortless AI course I just made.