Fein-Lines: AI—Here and Changing the World

Every day we hear more about artificial intelligence and, specifically, AI-powered chatbots. Some of us have learned to use this new and rapidly growing technology. Some read about it but do not fully understand or care what it does, but I can assure you that if you have not learned about it, you soon will.

In this column, I will introduce Chat AI, generate some questions and in some cases I will let AI answer. When you see commentary in quotations you will be reading the exact response that I get when I ask ChatGPT or Edge/Bing AI the same question. I’ll also review additional AI capabilities that will soon be available with Bing AI Chatbot being one of the latest, at least for now.

ChatGPT and Bing AI Chat are two of the most popular AI chatbots right now and are both powered by a similar Open AI-created Large Language Model (LLM). How does it work, and which is better to use? As of early May, Microsoft introduced Bing GPT-4 and is making its new AI-powered chatbot available to everyone. In addition, it is now available as a sidebar so when you are on a web page and you need an AI-powered assistant, you can have one available to you right there on your screen, ready to respond to your questions just as if it were sitting across the table from you. The rest of this article is basically a demonstration showing the basic capabilities now available to most of us.

feinberg_hero_0523.jpgAll of these new capabilities are AI powered so, what is open artificial intelligence? It is a large language model that is designed to produce human-like text, and it does so by creating the next word or sentence based on the input text that you provide or the question you ask. GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer, which uses a neural network to analyze a great deal of text data to learn language patterns. If you ask ChatGPT what that means, the AI will tell you regarding itself:

“The model has been trained on massive amounts of text data, including books, articles, and websites. This training enables the model to generate coherent and contextually appropriate text in response to a wide range of prompts. OpenAI's language model has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, text summarization, and content creation.” When asked the same question, Bing AI Chat answers:

On the other hand, Bing Chat is a chatbot developed by Microsoft that is primarily used for customer support and service inquiries. It is designed to handle specific tasks and interact with customers in a structured and goal-oriented way. So, whether ChatGPT or Bing Chat is better depends on the specific use case and requirements of the application. If the goal is to create a chatbot that can respond to a wide range of prompts in a conversational and natural way, ChatGPT may be a better choice. However, if the goal is to develop a customer support chatbot that can handle specific inquiries and tasks, Bing Chat may be more suitable.”

Here are a few things you might find interesting to try. First, choose a relatively simple question, one that can be answered differently depending on the opinion. Then ask a chatbot. Bing has added a style of response you can choose such as “creative,” “balanced,” or “precise.” When asking Bing in creative mode, “What is a printed circuit?” it responds:

“A printed circuit is an electrical device that uses a thin layer of conductive material to create connections between components on an insulating substrate.”

When asked in the balanced mode, it says:

“A printed circuit board is an electronic circuit consisting of thin strips of conducting material such as copper which have been etched from a layer fixed to a flat insulating sheet.”

So, it’s similar but perhaps with a little more detail. But here’s what happened when I asked for a “precise” answer:

“A printed circuit board (PCB) is a medium used to connect electronic components to one another is a controlled manner. It takes the form of a laminated sandwich structure of conductive and insulating layers. Each of the conductive layers is designed with an artwork pattern of traces, planes and other features.”

I then went to ChatGPT and asked it the same question. Here is the full response (please note that the text and punctuation errors belong to AI):

“A printed circuit, also known as a printed circuit board (PCB), is a flat board made of non-conductive material, typically fiberglass-reinforced epoxy, which serves as a mechanical support and electrical connection platform for electronic components. It provides a means to mechanically support and electrically connect various electronic components, such as integrated circuits (ICs), resistors, capacitors, and other electronic devices.

The surface of a printed circuit board is typically covered with a thin layer of copper, which is etched to create conductive pathways or traces that form the interconnections between the electronic components. These traces are designed according to a specific circuit layout, which is usually created using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

The process of creating a printed circuit involves several steps. First, a substrate material is chosen and prepared, usually a laminate consisting of layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. Then, a layer of copper is applied to the substrate through a process called "copper clad lamination." The copper layer is usually very thin and is later etched to form the desired circuit pattern.

After the copper layer is applied, a photoresist material is applied to the surface, and a circuit pattern is created using a photomasking process. This involves exposing the photoresist to ultraviolet light through a mask that defines the desired circuit pattern. The exposed areas of the photoresist harden, while the unexposed areas remain soft.

Next, the board is immersed in an etching solution, which removes the unprotected copper, leaving only the desired copper traces. Once the etching process is complete, the remaining photoresist is removed, and the board undergoes a thorough cleaning to ensure no residue remains.

Finally, the printed circuit board is inspected for quality and undergoes additional processes such as drilling holes for component mounting, applying a solder mask to protect the copper traces, and adding a silkscreen layer for component labels and other markings.”

AI_PCB_image.jpgFor comparison I then asked ChatGPT to regenerate its response and it did modify the response somewhat. Some areas were more detailed and some simpler. The point is that artificial intelligence is not like a robot that does the exact same thing every time the same command is given. It is true intelligence artificially created using a large or a series of very large databases. AI can do so much more. For example, I asked it to generate a picture of a printed circuit using the generated description, and this circuit pattern is what I got.

The power of AI is exciting and frightening at the same time, but the capabilities cannot be ignored, and you can, therefore, be sure we will be closely following how it affects us and our industry in the months to come.

Dan Feinberg is an I-Connect007 technical editor and founder of Fein-Line Associates.



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