As technology evolves, we constantly seek more efficient and user-friendly ways to interact with our devices and applications. One of the most notable advancements in recent years is the development of Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT, a natural language processing model by OpenAI. ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with applications and become the new paradigm in user interface design. Many applications have a Command Line Interface (CLI). ChatGPT excels at understanding the syntax of CLIs and translating natural language queries into detailed CLI commands. Suddenly, applications that seemed inaccessible to a broader audience because of the need to learn a complex and bespoke command set become widely accessible.
The death of the command line will also see the rebirth of the command line, not as the user interface but as the ChatGPT interface. Further, as people become used to the idea that computers understand natural language, users will expect all applications to have a natural language interface. This blog post will explore how ChatGPT will change the CLI landscape and give us a future where all applications are natural language and voice accessible.
The Power of ChatGPT
ChatGPT has been trained on a vast data set, making it knowledgeable about various programming languages, operating systems, and CLI commands. With its ability to understand natural language descriptions of tasks, ChatGPT can generate the appropriate CLI commands for users. This not only saves time but also reduces the learning curve for individuals who may be unfamiliar with specific command line syntax.
For example, if a user wanted to find all the text files in a directory, they could simply ask ChatGPT, “Show me all the text files in this folder.” ChatGPT would then generate the appropriate command, such as ‘find . -name “*.txt” -print’ or ‘file * | grep -i “text”‘.
The Natural Language User Interface Revolution
By incorporating ChatGPT as the primary interface for CLI-driven applications, we can create a more inclusive environment for users who may not be comfortable with traditional command line syntax. This also means that explanations of CLI commands will become more readily available, as users can simply ask ChatGPT for clarification on a specific command or its functionality.
A great example is the proof-of-concept ChatGPT interface shown here for OpenBB. In this blog post, OpenBB CEO/Founder Didier Lopes shows prompting ChatGPT with the command reference and how it subsequently creates the correct CLI query from natural language. Bloomberg also recently introduced BloombergGPT, which generates Bloomberg Query Language CLI commands from natural language prompts.
Furthermore, the widespread adoption of natural language interfaces will lead to more voice-controlled applications. ChatGPT can understand and process naturally spoken sentences, so users will no longer be limited to structured voice commands. This advancement in voice technology will make interacting with applications more seamless and user-friendly. OpenAI is open-sourcing a neural net called Whisper that approaches human-level robustness and accuracy on English speech recognition. An application already allows iPhone users to replace Siri with ChatGPT. In less than a decade, natural language voice will be the interface we use on our devices.
The Future of Natural Language Interfaces
When building an application, we often think of creating a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to interact with the application, expecting the GUI to offer a more intuitive and user-friendly interface than forcing the user to learn a command line. So what happens as natural language interfaces become increasingly common? With the ability to use natural language voice commands, which will come first? GUI or natural language? It will depend on the application, but natural language will become the starting point for many apps, particularly on mobile devices – no more thumb typing. Bypass the keyboard and bypass the mouse. Voice and natural language are more accessible and intuitive methods for users to issue commands and control their applications.
While the command line as a programming interface will not disappear, the rise of ChatGPT and natural language interfaces will undoubtedly reshape how we interact with CLI-driven applications. By making technology more accessible and user-friendly, ChatGPT has the potential to become the user interface of the future. As natural language interfaces become more prevalent, we can expect a significant increase in voice-controlled applications, further revolutionizing how we interact with technology.