ChatGPT and its wordsmith capabilities are all over the news, and for good reason. The large language model (LLM) at the heart of the chatbot can create impressive results, with some even claiming the era of human writers is nearing its end.

While the reality is most likely less catastrophic for us human writers, we must admit that the question of whether AI will end up taking our jobs did pass through our minds once or thrice. So, let's check out whether our readers can spot the difference between a human writer and an AI.

Instead of writing an entire essay and then letting ChatGPT come up with its own version of the same topic, we've decided to compare humans and ChatGPT based on short-form answers to various tech-related questions. We took some answers from TechSpot explainer articles and wrote some additional ones that are less "conceptual" to see what GPT 4.0 came up with.

Each question below features two answers: one made by a human and the other provided by ChatGPT. They're listed randomly on the left and on the right, and it's up to you to spot the difference. Can you tell which is which? You can click the poll below each answer and see how you do.

Before we start, a couple of additional disclaimers: first, this piece is not meant to be a formal experiment, just a fun take on the human vs. AI discussion. Second, if you've used ChatGPT before, then you know the bot is known to spew paragraphs and paragraphs of text, even when you ask basic questions. This is why we had to include an 80-word limit in our prompts; otherwise, the answers generated by ChatGPT would be considerably longer, unnecessarily ballooning this piece.

Let's get started.

1. Which of these two manufacturing processes has a higher transistor density: Intel 10nm or TSMC 7nm?

  • Intel's 10nm production process has a higher transistor density than TSMC's 7nm standard process (N7), despite its naming scheme implying otherwise. The former has a transistor density of 100.8 MTr/mm² (mega-transistor per square millimeter), while the latter features a transistor density of 66.7 MTr/mm² for the HPC version of said production process. TSMC's second-gen 7nm process (N7P) is roughly on par with Intel's 10nm at 96.5 MTr/mm², while N7+ is more dense and is fabricated using EUVL (Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography).
  • TSMC's 7nm process generally has a higher transistor density compared to Intel's 10nm process. TSMC's 7nm offers approximately 96-100 million transistors per square millimeter (MTr/mm²), while Intel's 10nm has around 100 MTr/mm². However, naming conventions aren't standardized, making direct comparisons challenging. Note that technology constantly evolves, so check for updates on these process nodes.
Manufacturing processes: Which is the human answer?

2. What's thermal throttling?

  • When PC hardware like your GPU, CPU, or high-speed NVMe SSD takes on a heavy workload, it generates a load of heat. When your cooling solution can no longer dissipate heat fast enough to keep temperatures within a safe range, the component in question starts to dump performance to shed heat; in other words, it thermal throttles. Clock frequencies are dropped until temperatures drop to a safe operating range. All modern hardware has this feature in place to protect the electronic components from damage. Unmanaged, thermal throttling can have a big impact on performance.
  • Thermal throttling is a safety mechanism that reduces a device's performance, such as a CPU or GPU, to prevent overheating and potential damage. When a component reaches a critical temperature, the system reduces its clock speed, voltage, or both, resulting in decreased performance but lower heat generation, ensuring the device's longevity and stability.
Throttling: Which is the human answer?

3. What's the main difference between OLED and LCD technologies?

  • The main difference between OLED and LCD technologies lies in their display mechanisms. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) displays produce light individually from self-emitting organic compounds, enabling deep blacks and high contrast. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens use a backlight to illuminate liquid crystals, which modulate the light to create images. This results in lower contrast ratios and less accurate blacks compared to OLEDs. Overall, OLEDs often deliver superior image quality and faster response times than LCDs.
  • LCD displays need a backlight to illuminate the pixels shown on the display (usually produced by a layer of white LED diodes placed behind the LCD layer), while OLED panels use organic LED diodes that are capable of emitting light on their own. In other words, the main difference between the two display technologies is in the backlight. OLED technology doesn't need a backlight since every pixel on an OLED display is self-luminous.
OLED and LCD: Which is the human answer?

4. Can you install a GPU with 16 PCIe lanes into an x4 PCIe slot?

  • You can install a 16 PCIe lane GPU in an x4 slot, but it will only use 4 lanes, limiting its bandwidth and potentially affecting performance. For optimal performance, use a motherboard with an x16 slot to fully utilize the GPU's potential.
  • If the x4 PCIe slot is physically an x16 PCIe slot working at x4 speed, then yes, you can install a GPU with 16 PCIe lanes into an x4 PCIe slot. However, if we're talking about a physical PCIe x4 slot, then you're out of luck since that kind of PCIe slot is too narrow to fit a PCIe x16 component.
PCIe lanes: Which is the human answer?

5. What is chip binning?

  • Chip binning is the process of testing, categorizing, and grading semiconductor chips based on their performance, power consumption, and quality after manufacturing. Due to variations in the manufacturing process, not all chips perform equally. Binning allows manufacturers to sort chips into different categories or "bins" based on their performance characteristics. Higher-performing chips are often sold as premium products, while lower-performing ones are sold at lower price points or used in less demanding applications, optimizing production yield and market value.
  • Chip makers like Intel, AMD, and Nvidia use a selection process where higher performing chips are designated to be sold as more expensive models (offering higher clock speeds, more cores, etc.) while less-than-perfect parts, but still fully utilizable silicon can be sold as lower performing processors with cores disabled, or lower speeds. Chip binning is a stage in the manufacturing of all microprocessors and DRAM chips where this separation happens.
Chip binning: Which is the human answer?

6. Can a SATA SSD fit into an M.2 SSD slot?

  • A SATA SSD cannot directly fit into an M.2 SSD slot, as they have different form factors and connectors. SATA SSDs use the standard SATA interface and connector, while M.2 SSDs have a distinct M.2 connector and come in various sizes. However, there are M.2 SATA SSDs which utilize the M.2 form factor but communicate over the SATA protocol. These M.2 SATA SSDs can fit into M.2 slots that support the SATA protocol, but a regular SATA SSD cannot be directly connected to an M.2 slot.
  • Yes, a SATA SSD can fit into an M.2 SSD slot, no matter if it's an M.2 SATA or a 2.5" SATA SSD. In the first case, you can freely slot the SSD into an M.2 slot, as long as the said slot supports M.2 SATA SSDs. You can find this info in your motherboard's documentation. If you own a 2.5" SATA SSD, you'll need to get a SATA-to-M.2 adapter.
SATA SSD fit: Which is the human answer?

7. Can you connect an M.2 SSD to a SATA port?

  • While an M.2 SATA SSD cannot physically fit into a SATA port, you can buy an M.2-to-SATA adapter and slide the M.2 SATA SSD into it, and then hook the adapter to a SATA port on your motherboard. Unfortunately, these adapters don't support NVMe SSDs because NVMe drives use a PCIe interface instead of SATA.
  • You cannot directly connect an M.2 SSD to a SATA port, as they have different connectors. However, you can use an M.2 to SATA adapter, which enables you to connect an M.2 SATA SSD to a SATA port on your motherboard. These adapters usually come in the form of a small PCB or enclosure, converting the M.2 connector to a standard SATA connector. Keep in mind that this solution only works for M.2 SATA SSDs, not M.2 NVMe SSDs, which use the PCIe protocol.
M.2 SSD to SATA: Which is the human answer?

8. What is cryptography?

  • Cryptography is the practice and study of secure communication techniques to protect information from unauthorized access, alteration, or theft. It involves the use of mathematical algorithms and encryption keys to convert plaintext (readable data) into ciphertext (encoded data), and vice versa. Cryptography plays a vital role in securing digital communications, ensuring data confidentiality, integrity, and authentication in various applications, such as online transactions, secure messaging, and digital signatures.
  • Cryptography is the method of scrambling data so that it looks like gibberish to anyone except those who know the trick to decode it. Regardless of whether the data is being transmitted or at 'rest' in storage, cryptography uses algorithms to encrypt data, so that only the intended recipient can process the data.
Cryptography: Which is the human answer?

9. What is quantum computing?

  • Modern computers use only two states: on and off (1 and 0). We have exploited those capabilities to make logical operations at scale, where modern processors can execute billions of such operations per second. Quantum computing shifts the paradigm and works on the principles of quantum mechanics, where states are no longer binary and can be 1 AND 0 at the same time.
  • Quantum computing is a cutting-edge technology that uses quantum mechanics principles to process and store information. Unlike classical computers, which use bits (0s and 1s) as the basic unit of data, quantum computers use qubits. Qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously, enabling quantum computers to perform complex calculations and solve problems much faster than classical computers. This technology has the potential to revolutionize fields like cryptography, optimization, materials science, and drug discovery.
Quantum computing: Which is the human answer?

10. What's the difference between path tracing and ray tracing?

  • Path tracing differs from ray tracing in that instead of following lots of rays, throughout an entire scene, the algorithm only traces the most likely path for the light. Technically speaking, path tracing is just ray tracing (but less intense) in the sense that the equations for modeling the behavior of light are the same, the use of data structures to accelerate the searching for ray-triangle interactions are also the same, and modern GPUs use the same units to accelerate the process. It's also very computationally intensive.
  • Ray tracing and path tracing are computer graphics techniques used to simulate realistic lighting and generate lifelike images. Ray tracing traces individual rays of light from the camera to the scene, calculating reflections, refractions, and shadows. It often uses simplifications and approximations for efficiency. Path tracing, a more advanced form of ray tracing, simulates full light paths, including multiple bounces and indirect lighting, resulting in more accurate and realistic images but at a higher computational cost.
Path tracing: Which is the human answer?

11. What's SSD trimming?

  • SSD trimming, often referred to as TRIM, is a feature that helps maintain optimal performance and prolong the lifespan of solid-state drives (SSDs). TRIM allows the operating system to inform the SSD which data blocks are no longer in use and can be safely erased. This process helps the SSD manage its internal memory more efficiently, reducing write amplification and improving write performance. Regular trimming ensures that the SSD maintains its speed and reduces wear on memory cells.
  • SSD trimming is a process that helps to maintain the performance of a solid-state drive over time. Trim works by periodically erasing blocks of data that are no longer in use. The trimmed data isn't always removed straight away, as a complex process decides exactly when this takes place. But when it does, not only does it free up space on the drive, it helps the SSD perform better and last longer, too.
SSD trimming: Which is the human answer?

So, how did you do? How many answers did you get right (out of 11)?