Talking ChatGPT

  • 13 February 2023
  • Creativity
  • Rosalyn Page

It’s all anyone’s talking about at the moment, at least it is in my worlds of content writing, marketing and education. Here’s a summary of some of their concerns and curiosities when it comes to the possibilities of ChatGPT.

Writers are understandably worried about yet another thing coming along to reduce our importance and lower our value and, therefore, our incomes. Marketers and those in data and digital seem to be intrigued about its potential in all sorts of different ways, while wary about the problems with respect to accuracy, plagiarism and being penalised by Google’s search ranking algorithm if using AI-generated copy. Educators are deeply concerned about its impact on students taking short cuts when producing essays and how they’ll find the time and the insight or tools to detect AI-written material.

It’s not often you have a three-way conversation between your high school teacher partner, high school student son and yourself where everyone agrees about the possibilities and horrors of our AI future. Are we staring into our dystopian future where the robots outsmart us or will we find ways to harness the power of AI mostly for the better while dealing with some of the negative consequences?

The AI race heats up

Having played with ChatGPT myself I was amazed by some of the content it created, underwhelmed by some of it too. Right now, I don’t see my occupation being destroyed, but if the phone stops ringing, I guess I’ll know I was wrong. Of course, ChatGPT isn’t the only tool of its kind. While Google’s Bard may have had some major hiccups, the platform that brought us eponymous search won’t be left behind.

Microsoft’s much maligned search Bing has now teamed up with ChatGPT which many finally give it an edge on Google and it’s said to be planning to insert a ChatGPT-like chatbot in Word and many of its other applications.

Finally, there may be many AIs, rather than a single, all-knowing AI platform according to this article by Neiman Lab.

Did philosophers predict ChatGPT?

As a university student in the 90s, I studied philosophy and cultural studies for several semesters, with the French philosophers Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Deleuze and Guattari and Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva some of my favourites. Another was Jean Baudrillard and it occurred to me the other day ChatGPT is like the simulacra he wrote about in the early 80s.

The simulacra are the representations or imitations of something, images or other things generated without the substance or qualities of the original and Baudrillard suggested that they are not copies because they become their own truth and something real. He was talking about a world mediated by technology and media, but it seems to apply to the content created by generative AI tools like ChatGPT.

Already I’ve seen the first course, created by a fellow content writer, aimed at helping us see where ChatGPT in particular, and AI tools in general, can help us in our work and what to watch out for as well. Here’s a very brief rundown of some of the uses, and abuses, of ChatGPT so far.

A Bot marketer?

In the world of marketing, there’s a host of possibilities for where to apply ChatGPT. Idea generation, headline prompts, summarising research or simple press releases such as appointments, writing product or other simple descriptions and so on. Already there are articles coming out in the marketing press about marketers thinking through how it could be used to drive creativity, processing data and best practice guidelines for fact checking AI-created content. On the wider population, it’s showing everyone outside of the tech world the power and potential of AI — and that is bound to change everything.

Could it emulate Nick Cave?

Songwriter Nick Cave was sent a song created by ChatGPT from a fan who asked it to write something i his style. He was unimpressed, to say the least, finding its replication a travesty. Devoid of suffering, human struggle and feelings, it created a replicant, a mimic. “… this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human,” he wrote.

Nick Cave’s repudiation notwithstanding, it seems a good many other people are finding all sorts of uses for this AI tool. There have been some other interesting experiments.

What about replacing a journalist?

Developing simple lifestyle articles on best coffee shops in Melbourne or how to spend two days in Sydney, journalist and academic Margaret Simons put it through its paces to develop a range of different styles of articles. She found it produced mostly factual, bland articles, but could not offer any particular opinions or original analysis.

What else is ChatGPT good for?

* Finding/creating recipes for all sorts of different food.
* Helping with tricky maths problems.
* Writing and debuging code.
* Creating content in other languages.
* Writing jokes.
* Issuing advice.

Need help with ChatGPT?

I’m starting to offer some ChatGPT sessions, helping marketers, content managers, brand managers and other utilise ChatGPT. Get in touch if you’re keen to learn more about ChatGPT and how to apply it in effective, safe ways in your work.

I’m supporting the Yes campaign for the Voice

A personal message. I’ve signed on to volunteer to support the Yes campaign for the Voice to Parliament. I’d encourage everyone who’s interested to read more about it and sign up here if you’re able to volunteer and lend a hand. It could just be committing to chat with family and friends.

Image by Tara Winstead from Pexels

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Rosalyn Page

Rosalyn is an award-winning writer with a niche in digital lifestyle, technology, innovation and travel.

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