Putting ChatGPT 4 Through Its Paces

What happens when Design News Senior Editor Spencer Chin tries OpenAI’s newest version of ChatGPT?

Spencer Chin, Senior Editor

May 16, 2024

9 Min Read
ChatGPT 4 raises bar on generative AI.
OpenAI has updated its ChatGPT tool with a number of enhancements, including speech and visual inputs.OpenAI

At a Glance

  • ChatGPT 4.0 ups the ante for generative AI by accepting speech and visual inputs.

Earlier this week, OpenAI announced the latest version of its popular ChatGPT program, designated 4o. As generative AI continues to progress, OpenAI says has incorporated new functions and improved the capabilities of its popular tool.

OpenAI claims to solve more difficult problems with greater accuracy, and says it surpasses its predecessor, 3.5, in advanced reasoning capabilities. But perhaps the biggest change is the ability of the updated tool to generate images based on visual and speech input. This multi-modal capability can conceivably impact the generation of photos, art, and music, though with a likelihood of potential controversy over digital rights.

ChatGPT 4 can be accessed in several ways. If you already have a ChatGPT plus subscription ($20 monthly), you can select 4 via an online toggle switch. If you currently have a free Chat GPT account, you can pony up $20 for ChatGPT Plus. Better yet, one can access Microsoft Copilot (formerly Microsoft Bing) on a browser and be able to input and get answers through ChatGPT 4 for free. (Keep in mind that Copilot does not keep a history of responses unlike the actual program, you need to save them separately).

I chose the latter route when trying to put OpenAI’s new generative AI tool through its paces. As I have been using ChatGPT 3.5 to help brainstorm ideas for upcoming Design News stories, I decided to direct the same question to both tools to compare answers.

Related:Let ChatGPT Help You Express Your Romantic Side

First, I used the familiar text query to ask ChatGPT 3.5 about the major trends in sensors:

What are the major trends in sensors?

ChatGPT 3.5

Sensors are continually evolving, driven by technological advancements and emerging applications. Here are some major trends in the field:

  1. Miniaturization: Sensors are becoming smaller and more compact, enabling integration into various devices and applications, including wearables, IoT devices, and medical implants. Miniaturization allows for more discreet and unobtrusive sensing solutions.

  2. Internet of Things (IoT) Integration: With the rise of IoT, sensors are increasingly being used to collect data from the physical world and transmit it to connected devices and networks. This integration enables real-time monitoring, automation, and data-driven decision-making across various domains, such as smart homes, industrial automation, and agriculture.

  3. Wireless Connectivity: Sensors are incorporating wireless communication technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and LoRaWAN, enabling seamless data transmission over short or long distances. Wireless connectivity reduces the need for physical connections and enables remote monitoring and control of sensor networks.

  4. Energy Efficiency: Energy-efficient sensor designs are crucial for battery-powered and energy-constrained applications, such as IoT devices and wearable electronics. Low-power sensors, energy harvesting techniques, and efficient signal processing algorithms help prolong battery life and reduce overall energy consumption.

  5. Advanced Materials: Advances in materials science have led to the development of new sensor materials with enhanced sensitivity, selectivity, and durability. Nanomaterials, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes, are being used to create highly sensitive and selective sensors for detecting various substances, including gases, chemicals, and biomolecules.

  6. Smart Sensing: Sensors are becoming smarter with the integration of onboard signal processing, data analytics, and machine learning algorithms. Smart sensors can process data locally, extract meaningful information, and make decisions autonomously, reducing the need for constant data transmission and improving system responsiveness.

  7. Multimodal Sensing: Many applications require multiple types of sensors to gather comprehensive data about the environment. Multimodal sensors integrate different sensing modalities, such as optical, thermal, acoustic, and environmental sensing, into a single device, enabling more holistic data collection and analysis.

  8. Environmental Monitoring: With growing concerns about air and water quality, as well as climate change, there's an increasing demand for sensors capable of monitoring environmental parameters such as air pollution, water quality, and weather conditions. Advanced environmental sensors provide real-time data for better decision-making and environmental management.

  9. Biomedical Sensors: In healthcare, sensors play a critical role in monitoring vital signs, diagnosing diseases, and delivering targeted therapies. Biomedical sensors are becoming more accurate, sensitive, and non-invasive, enabling continuous health monitoring, early disease detection, and personalized medicine.

  10. Security and Surveillance: Sensors are widely used for security and surveillance applications, including intrusion detection, perimeter monitoring, and video analytics. Advanced sensor technologies, such as LiDAR, radar, and infrared sensors, enhance situational awareness and threat detection capabilities.

These trends collectively drive innovation in sensor technology, enabling new applications and improving efficiency and effectiveness across various industries and domains.

Friendly Response

When I posed the same question to ChatGPT-4o via Microsoft Copilot by speaking into the microphone on a Dell laptop computer, I received these responses from a friendly voice as the answers also appeared on the screen:

Microsoft Copilot

Certainly! Sensors play a crucial role in various industries, providing essential information about temperature, position, chemistry, pressure, force, and more. Here are some major trends in sensors:

  1. Advances in Electronic Control Systems: As technology improves, users demand more accurate, reliable, and efficient sensors. These advancements include increased accuracy, faster response times, robustness, miniaturization, and better communication capabilities.

  2. Smartphones and IoT: Sensors are integral to smartphones, enabling features like accelerometers, gyroscopes, ambient light sensors, and temperature sensors. The Internet of Things (IoT) relies heavily on sensors for automated monitoring and data collection.

  3. Automotive Applications: Sensors are increasingly used in cars for safety and automation. As prices decrease, sensors become standard components, enhancing driver assistance systems and moving toward autonomous vehicles.

  4. Healthcare Revolution: Implantable sensors, self-powered sensors, biosensors, MEMS, and nanosensors are transforming healthcare. They detect and measure physical, mechanical, chemical, and electromagnetic parameters, improving patient care.

  5. Cost Reduction and Integration: Improved fabrication techniques have lowered costs and increased sensing abilities. 

Remember that sensors continue to evolve, impacting industries and our daily lives.

While the answers from ChatGPT 4 were accurate and more than acceptable, I was surprised the tool provided a considerably shorter response than the text answers through ChatGPT 3.5. Also, note many of the ChatGPT 3.5 responses focused on actual trends, while three responses from ChatGPT4.0 talked about applications.

ChatGPT and Soldier Technology

To see if this was an anomaly, I used the same comparison technique to query how technology has changed what soldiers carry onto the battlefield, ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.

First, the text response from ChatGPT 3.5:

Technology has significantly changed what soldiers carry into the battlefield, enhancing their capabilities and survivability. Here are some examples:

  1. Personal Communication Devices: Soldiers now carry compact radios, smartphones, or similar devices that provide instant communication with their units, enabling better coordination and situational awareness.

  2. Night Vision Goggles (NVGs): NVGs allow soldiers to operate effectively in low-light conditions, giving them a tactical advantage during night missions.

  3. Body Armor: Modern body armor is lighter, more comfortable, and provides better protection against ballistic threats compared to older generations. It includes ballistic plates and Kevlar vests.

  4. Advanced Combat Helmets: Helmets have evolved to offer better protection while being lighter and more comfortable. Some helmets also integrate communication systems and night vision mounts.

  5. Weapon Optics: Red dot sights, holographic sights, and magnified optics have become standard equipment for soldiers, enhancing their accuracy and target acquisition.

  6. Integrated Load-Bearing Equipment: Load-bearing vests and harnesses allow soldiers to carry essential gear like ammunition, medical supplies, and communication equipment while distributing weight more evenly to reduce fatigue.

  7. Portable Power Sources: Lightweight batteries and portable solar panels enable soldiers to power their electronic devices, such as radios, GPS units, and night vision goggles, even in remote areas.

  8. Medical Equipment: Soldiers carry advanced first aid kits and medical supplies to treat injuries on the battlefield, including tourniquets, hemostatic agents, and airway management tools.

  9. Multi-Tool and Survival Gear: Soldiers often carry multi-tools that include knives, screwdrivers, and other utilities for various tasks. Additionally, survival kits with essentials like water purification tablets, fire starters, and emergency rations are common.

  10. Ballistic Eyewear: Goggles or glasses with ballistic protection lenses shield soldiers' eyes from debris, dust, and fragments, providing essential eye protection.

  11. Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Equipment: Soldiers carry protective gear like gas masks and suits to shield against CBRN threats, ensuring their ability to operate in contaminated environments.

Here’s how ChatGPT-4o responded to speech:

Microsoft Copilot

Technology has significantly changed what soldiers carry on the battlefield. Here are a few examples:

  1. Combat Drones: The MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and its successor, the Reaper, have become iconic weapons of modern warfare. These drones, which can be armed with missiles, have extended the reach of soldiers, allowing them to engage enemies from a distance. The use of drones has expanded beyond military superpowers to smaller nations and insurgent groups.

  2. Exoskeletons: The Army is testing the use of exoskeletons to help soldiers carry heavy equipment. This technology could significantly reduce the physical strain on soldiers and increase their endurance.

  3. Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS): This system combines information from various sources into a heads-up display for soldiers, providing them with real-time data on the battlefield.

  4. Drone Resupply: The Army is experimenting with using drones to resupply soldiers with ammunition in the field. This could reduce the amount of ammunition a soldier needs to carry and ensure they have the supplies they need when they need them.

  5. Robotic Combat Vehicles: The Army is developing robotic combat vehicles that can be remotely operated, reducing the risk to soldiers.

  6. 5G and Future G Wireless Technology: These technologies can aid in communications, making it easier for soldiers to coordinate and share information on the battlefield.

  7. Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy: These technologies are critical for operating unmanned platforms, allowing soldiers to engage enemies without putting themselves at risk.

In this case, ChatGPT 4.0 still came with fewer answers than 3.5, but the answers appeared more concise. And, the last answer reflected the trend towards AI occurring everywhere.

ChatGPT 4 and Tesla

Finally, I had to see how ChatGPT 4's image-generation functions worked. I used the example of Tesla’s futuristic Cybertruck.

As a reminder, ChatGPT 3.5 cannot generate actual images, only descriptions of potential images. ChatGPT 4 was able to generate renditions of the truck from both speech and visual input, with the latter based on an image of the truck I uploaded below.


Because our company's policies prohibit the use of AI-generated images, the outputs from ChatGPT 4 cannot be shown here. The program generated four images based on speech input that showed their rendition of the truck at different angles. None bore any resemblance to the Tesla truck (sorry Eton Musk).

When we chose the option of inputting the actual image of the truck, ChatGPT 4 fared better, as the program produced an image whose front end and wheels resembled Tesla’s existing vehicles. However, the program missed the market with the rest of the truck, even taking liberties by producing a truck side panel with “Tesla” in big letters. The actual truck has no such features.

With more guidance, ChatGPT 4 might have generated a more accurate image of the truck. But─perhaps not surprisingly─generative AI has a ways to go before one can consider it a trustworthy artwork generation companion.

About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News, covering the electronics beat, which includes semiconductors, components, power, embedded systems, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and other related subjects. He is always open to ideas for coverage. Spencer has spent many years covering electronics for brands including Electronic Products, Electronic Buyers News, EE Times, Power Electronics, and electronics360. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him at @spencerchin.

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