March 15, 2023
Tips and Tricks

Why is ChatGPT Bad at Even Basic Math?

As many users experienced, ChatGPT may fail at math even it works perfectly at text-based tasks. Let's learn more about the Language Model technology to understand why ChatGPT fails at math!

Arzu Özkan-  Digital Marketing Manager
Zehra Yavuz
Digital Marketing Intern

In recent years the improvements in artificial intelligence (AI), made a remarkable impact on some industries and even on our daily lives such as ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI. What makes ChatGPT unique is that it serves the public directly. Although ChatGPT works perfectly at analyzing situations, explaining things, and even writing you a sincere poem; this helpful chatbot is incapable of doing some basic math calculations. The test conducted by Shakarian demonstrated that the ChatGPT’s accuracy on math problems is below 60% which is as less as an average middle school student’s accuracy. In short, ChatGPT can help you write an article but you may be misled while doing some basic math calculations with ChatGPT.

a poem that is generated by ChatGPT

Table of Contents

How an Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Is Unable to Make Perfect Calculations?

After having been launched and gotten the whole attention, this obstacle of ChatGPT has been figure out by many.  

While having many opinions over the most controversial topics such as socialism vs capitalism and the ethical issues over philosophy, ChatGPT may fail at arithmetic calculations even basic math. The inability of doing perfect math calculations of ChatGPT doesn’t mean that it has no intelligence.  

Before jumping into an explanation, let's look at how ChatGPT works.

What ChatGPT says about its calculation limitations

ChatGPT Is an AI Language Model, Not a Calculator

As the chatbot said itself, this Artificial Intelligent (AI) chatbot called ChatGTP is a language model whose abilities are constrained by the quality and quantity of data it has been trained on. To understand the reason for this incapability and how ChatGPT works, it is better to take a closer look at ChatGPT’s (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) underlying technology. ChatGPT is a text-based language model that has been developed based on limited data. However, ChatGPT is being trained on new datasets, this limitation makes the knowledge and capability of the AI chatbot finite.  

ChatGPT is Better at Generating Human-Like Responses Than Doing Perfect Math Calculations

Another point is that since ChatGPT is a text-based program, it has been trained to communicate with and generate human language. The  AI language model of ChatGPT has been structured to develop and form itself based on human feedback. This concept is called “next word prediction” or “language model”.

As an AI language model, ChatGPT is designed to process and generate natural language responses that sound like they were written by a human. This is achieved through the use of large amounts of training data, which allows the model to learn the patterns and structures of human language.

On the other hand, perfect math calculations require a high degree of accuracy and precision, and the ability to perform complex mathematical operations quickly and efficiently. While AI models like ChatGPT can certainly perform math calculations, they may not always be as accurate or efficient as dedicated math software or hardware.

Furthermore, the primary goal of ChatGPT is to simulate human-like conversations, which often involve more than just providing factual information. Conversations can involve humor, sarcasm, emotions, and other human-like qualities that cannot be captured through math calculations alone.

What is Language Model?

Essentially, a language model is a computational model that is trained on a large corpus of natural language data, such as text or speech.

The goal of a language model is to be able to predict the next word or sequence of words in a sentence or phrase, based on the context of the previous words. This is accomplished through the use of statistical and machine learning algorithms, which allow the model to learn the patterns and structures of human language.

Language models are used in a variety of applications, such as speech recognition, machine translation, chatbots, and text generation. One example of a popular language model is Chat GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3), developed by OpenAI, which is capable of generating human-like responses to text prompts and has been used in a variety of natural language processing tasks.

The Language Model used by ChatGPT can be defined as determining the probability of which word comes next based on text data and statistics. In this way the AI language model can generate a relevant and satisfying response to your question.

With the language model, the chatbot forms its answer based on your words using transformer technology, which means it is sensitive to what you write and how you express yourself. In other words, ChatGPT is a text-based language model, not a calculator or a math genius.  Just like us, its knowledge and ability are limited to the scope of the data it has.  

a funny conversation of ChatGPT

Can We Trust ChatGPT?

After having mentioned all of these limitations of ChatGPT, it is a very natural question “Can we trust ChatGPT in math?”.

The power of ChatGPT and such AI language models comes from their ability to generate human-like responses, not their accuracy. From that point, the probability of inaccuracy in math while using ChatGPT shouldn’t be a surprise; however, inadequate expressions or grammatical errors would be such a shock.

In other words, you can not fully rely on ChatGPT. Even if it gives you a perfect-looking answer, it may not be accurate. Although it has some accuracy issues and it’s not a fully reliable tool, its percentage of accuracy has been expected to grow since it has a learning dynamic and it improves itself every second.

Although this intelligent, helpful, and polite AI chatbot can help you do your tasks, homework, and research it is not a fully capable hero, so it is better to check it double and consider it as a human-like intelligence rather than a perfect calculator. Have you ever observed such an error while using ChatGPT for math? For what kind of tasks ChatGPT assists you at its best?  

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