Large Language Models (LLMs): What They Are, How They Work, & Uses

Hire Remote Developers
Rafael Timbó
By
Rafael Timbó
|
Chief Technology Officer
Linkedin

Table of Contents

Explore large language models (LLMs) and their diverse applications, and find ways to seamlessly incorporate them into your business strategy for growth, enhanced AI, and deep learning capabilities.
Published on
January 24, 2024
Updated on
June 26, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models, large language models (LLMs) have emerged as some of the most revolutionary changes to how we interact with technology and information. LLMs have become an integral part of critical operations in numerous industries around the globe, even when the technology is still in its infancy.

Acquiring a solid grasp of the concept is crucial before you invest in LLMs for your business by hiring experienced developers. In this article, we will delve into the intricate realm of LLMs, explaining what they are and how they work while also showcasing a variety of applications and use cases of the technology.

What Is a Large Language Model?

Large language models are generative AI models capable of understanding input and generating corresponding output in human language. Such models, like ChatGPT, are trained using a vast array of data to detect patterns in human speech and predict the probability of the next word given the context. Conversational AI chatbots, like those of GPT-3, respond to prompts through text generation. This predictive capability lets LLMs produce largely coherent and contextually relevant sentences regarding a specific topic.

However, there’s more to LLMs than meets the eye, as those models result from a hyper-specific ML algorithm called deep learning. This particular architecture uses transformer models, a type of neural network that learns context through sequential data analysis. Working together and in large numbers, transformers assist in handling long-range dependencies in languages, allowing the model to keep track of information spanning multiple paragraphs and whole articles rather than just individual sentences.

Those transformer models are defined as “large” because they only function properly when provided with extensive training data and many parameters needed to make a solid prediction. The popularity of LLMs can be attributed mainly to their versatility, as they can be fine-tuned for a wide array of specific tasks, ranging from translations and text summarization to answering questions and even writing full argumentative essays. This flexibility opens up a world of possibilities and applications across numerous domains and industries.

Related: 10 Best Large Language Models of 2024

How Do LLMs Work?

LLMs use two primary principles: machine learning and natural language processing (NLP). The LLM-in-training is then exposed to vast amounts of text data, allowing it to learn the nuances of language and context via prediction. Unlike traditional language foundation models and algorithms, LLMs aren’t pre-programmed with a language’s grammatical rules. Instead, it teaches itself the language via exposure, similar to how a human learns their mother tongue.

In order to make a model that predicts the next word with a high degree of accuracy, the predictions aren’t random; they’re calculated based on a probability distribution of the most likely word based on context. The transformer model assigns probabilities to all possible following words, only to select one with the highest likelihood based on the dataset, encoders, and learning models it was trained on. Zero-shot learning involves a model recognizing and responding to data it hasn't processed in training, though this ability is still much less common and often inaccurate.

LLMs can write cohesive sentences, paragraphs, and full articles because they can maintain memory of different parts of the input query. This enables them to capture long-range dependencies limited to the provided context.

Large Language Model Use Cases & Applications

LLM application ranges from online content generation to healthcare, as they can be customized and fine-tuned for specific tasks and fields.

Using Custom LLMs

Custom LLMs enable businesses to focus on solving tasks and problems specific to them rather than using a generic solution available on the market. For example, companies that involve lots of customer interaction could train LLM models to comprehend customer queries and reply with the correct answer from the knowledge database.

Similarly, in companies where the work requires lots of text data analysis, the LLM could be trained to replace their knowledge database, providing users with valuable insights at the click of a button.

Content Generation & Automation

LLMs can be used to complete tasks requiring automated content generation, such as summarizing emails and replying to them, enhancing resumes, or creating marketing strategies according to the current market data. LLMs can save businesses significant time and resources by automating content production tasks.

Similarly, they can be used for more complex content generation tasks, like answering questions or maintaining a conversation with the user until they’re satisfied with the answer, providing further explanations as required.

Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

LLMs can be transformed into virtual assistants and chatbots when given access to computer resources and the internet. Chatbots can be created to handle customer queries professionally, saving business time in human-operated customer support while optimizing the user experience for comfort, speed, and effectiveness.

As for virtual assistants, they can perform desk tasks ranging from setting reminders and sending emails to clearing up schedules and helping an employee brainstorm.

Healthcare

LLMs play a vital role in the healthcare industry, where they can assist in tasks like medical transcription, patient file analysis, and patient interaction and comfort. Furthermore, they can help doctors better interpret patient reports by suggesting possible diagnoses and even replacing healthcare providers in acquiring a patient’s medical history.

In addition, LLMs can be used for more complex tasks like medical image analysis and drug discovery. Medical image analysis involves analyzing medical images such as X-rays or CT scans to detect abnormalities or diseases, while drug discovery involves using machine learning algorithms to identify potential new drugs. By automating these tasks, LLMs can help doctors make more accurate diagnoses and find new disease treatments faster.

Search Engines

Many search engines use LLMs in their algorithms to help them better understand natural language input by users, leading to more accurate search results. Instead of linking to pages and websites where the user’s answer is most likely available, the search engine could combine information from multiple sources into a text it writes itself.

Integrating LLMs Into Your Software Product

To elevate the capabilities of your software product, you can integrate an LLM into its foundation. However, this is a delicate process that requires careful planning and execution. Otherwise, you may risk breaking pre-existing features or bloating the software with a tool that barely works.

To begin, you’ll need to identify the tasks you want the LLM to perform in the software. This may range from answering user queries to automating user tasks. Once you’ve defined your objectives, fine-tuning the LLM using a relevant training process is required.

Next, you’ll need to integrate the LLM into your software, either by embedding it directly into its functionality or by connecting it externally via an API. Note that a lot of testing is needed to ensure the LLM performs as expected. This involves feeding the LLM with various inputs and assessing its outputs for accuracy and relevance.

Related: Understanding the Basic Components of AI 

How Large Language Models Can Grow Your Business

Used correctly, LLMs can contribute significantly to business growth. Automating repetitive tasks can save you time and resources, allowing you and your teams to focus on more strategic initiatives and creative work.

By integrating an LLM into your software product, you can significantly enhance its features and provide a more polished experience to your users. Moreover, LLMs can aid in product development by providing insights from user reviews and feedback. This is because they can analyze vast amounts of text data, extracting only the valuable information that can guide your software development strategy. 

Challenges of Using Large Language Models

Despite LLMs' numerous benefits and applications, they also present certain challenges that you must consider before adopting the technology. Training an LLM requires substantial computational resources and expertise, which may not be readily available to all businesses, especially startups and smaller companies.

Another challenge is the lack of transparency and accuracy of the generated text. You can’t know how the model gets to its final result or how it interprets the data it’s given. Solving for inaccurate, irrelevant, or biased results can be incredibly difficult and could cost you the entire model. Also, while LLMs are exceptional at generating text that reads fluently, they’re incapable of actually understanding the meaning of their words. This could lead to outputs that are grammatically correct but semantically incorrect or nonsensical.

Hire Machine Learning Engineers & Integrate LLMs Into Your Business

LLMs are a powerful tool that can transform your business operations and product offerings. However, you must have the right expertise, such as machine learning engineers and AI developers, to leverage their full potential.

That's where Revelo comes in. At Revelo, we match U.S. businesses with Latin American developers who are time-zone-aligned and rigorously vetted for technical skills, soft skills, and English proficiency. Our team handles the onboarding process from start to finish, including payroll, benefits administration, taxes, and local compliance, offering support throughout the developer’s time with a company to ensure engagement and long-term retention.

Ready to harness the power of LLMs for your business? Hire machine learning engineers and start building your next product.

Need to source and hire remote software developers?

Get matched with vetted candidates within 3 days.

Related blog posts

Angular vs. React: Key Differences and How to Choose

Angular vs. React

Rafael Timbó
READING TIME: 
Software Development
SaaS Application Security Testing: Its Role in Software Development

SaaS Application Security Testing

Rafael Timbó
READING TIME: 
Software Development
Kotlin vs. Java: What to Use for Android App Development

Kotlin vs. Java

Celso Crivelaro
READING TIME: 
Software Development

Subscribe to the Revelo Newsletter

Get the best insights on remote work, hiring, and engineering management in your inbox.

Subscribe and be the first to hear about our new products, exclusive content, and more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Hire Developers