ChatGPT goes back in time on a nearly 40-year-old MS-DOS PC
Why wouldn't you do this?
What you need to know
- A retro computing enthusiast has come up with one of the craziest implementations of ChatGPT that we've seen yet.
- Yeo Kheng Meng has built a chatbot that runs on his 1984 IBM PC that runs on MS-DOS.
- Better still, it apparently runs really well.
One of the most interesting things about the ongoing AI revolution is the wild ways that folks are using tools like ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Some are truly useful, educational, or creative. This one though is definitely one of those "because I can" situations.
Retro computing enthusiast and apparent badass, Yeo Kheng Meng (hat tip to hackster.io for the reporting), has done something pretty much unthinkable and built a ChatGPT client for MS-DOS. And it works, quite well no less, on a 1984 IBM PC. This thing is older than I am and it can still use the darling of the AI world.
I won't pretend I truly understand what it takes to create a piece of software for a hardware and software combination as old as this. But it's as impressive as all hell. It's also hosted on GitHub if you want to nerd out and look at the code.
The process essentially consisted of choosing a compatible language to build the app in and a way to get a 1984 PC to talk to ChatGPT. The simplified version is that a 1983 API allowed the PC to talk to a network card, and an open-source library allowed it to get an IP address using DHCP.
The software development was carried out in a DOS virtual machine to avoid having to keep porting binaries to a mid-80s PC built using mid-80s hardware. For the ChatGPT portion, the official Chat Completion API from OpenAI was utilized, much as it could be on more modern applications.
If you're curious to know exactly how this piece of history was programmed to access a piece of the future, check out the full blog post detailing the work. Alternatively, check out a demo in the clip below and marvel at just how awesome all of this really is.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine