An “Interview” with ChatGPT
Have you seen “ChatGPT” in the media as much as I have lately? (It stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, if you really want to know, like I did.) How about “AI” (Artificial Intelligence)? Surely you’ve been hearing about AI, but have you ventured down that intriguing — and bottomless — rabbit hole?
Well, I did, so now you don’t have to if you think you’ll be content with a sampling of my recent experiments. I’ve also included some linked resources for learning more, if you want more.An “Interview” with ChatGPT Click To Tweet
AI has been around for decades. Remember that 2001 Spielberg movie where “A.I.” was synonymous with an endearing little boy-android played by Haley Joel Osment? It was released nearly 50 years after AI became an academic discipline. We’ve all used it in one form or another without even realizing it. As Wikipedia points out:
AI applications include advanced web search engines (e.g., Google Search), recommendation systems (used by YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix), understanding human speech (such as Siri and Alexa), self-driving cars (e.g., Waymo), generative or creative tools (ChatGPT and AI art)….(etc.)
(Note that the ChatGPT tool is a “generative” form of AI, whereas applications like Google and Netflix searches are “predictive”. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz!)
Jasper was the first generative AI writing tool I encountered. Like most of my blogging colleagues at the time, a few years ago, I wasn’t convinced of the need to try it, and I never did, either. I did try Lumen5, though, a tool that turns blog posts into videos. But I wasn’t happy with my results. I wasn’t especially interested in ChatGPT, either, until I saw this webinar panel discussion, presented by the American Writers & Artists Institute: Is AI About to REPLACE Human Writers? Spoiler alert: It’s not. Meanwhile, I found the panel discussion to be well-balanced – in terms of the pros and cons of using ChatGPT – and fascinating.
So I tried ChatGPT. It was free, so why not?
If you remember nothing else about ChatGPT, remember this:
- ChatGPT is good at “Words, not facts.”
- This is a common refrain I’ve heard, read, and come to believe. (ChatGPT is great, you’re just using it wrong)
- Don’t put anything personal, highly sensitive, or knowingly false in your prompts.
- Nothing good can come from that.
- Nothing good can come from that.
- Start a new conversation for each new topic.
- Purposely building on (or refining) what you’ve already discussed is fine. Otherwise, though, ChatGPT could (inadvertently) incorporate content (and mistakes) from earlier in the chat.
- ChatGPT’s knowledge cutoff date is (currently) September 2021.
- So don’t ask it about current events. Even if it tells you something historical, double check the facts.
- My ChatGPT Q&A Protocol
- What, Exactly, is ChatGPT?
- Benefits & Drawbacks
- Security & Privacy
- Writing & Plagiarism
- Art & Photography
- Creating a Presentation
- Personal Use
- Reality Check
- The Gift that Keeps on Giving
My ChatGPT Q&A Protocol
I sat down with ChatGPT to learn more about it. I had already learned quite a lot and wanted to know what ChatGPT had to say for itself.
For each question I asked, ChatGPT’s initial answer included an introductory statement, five or six key points, and a closing paragraph. (Kind of like a mini blog post, demonstrating its value as a blog writing aid.)
In each case I asked it to summarize those points in one paragraph.
I then read the answers to see if they made sense. All of the answers presented here are unedited.
(In cases where the answers would be interesting only to me, or would make this post exponentially longer, I summarized them in parenthetical italics.)
What, Exactly, is ChatGPT?
HAZEL: Welcome, how are you doing today?
CHATGPT: Hello! As an artificial intelligence language model, I don’t have feelings, but I’m functioning well and ready to assist you with any questions or tasks you may have. How can I help you today?
HAZEL: What, exactly, is ChatGPT?
CHATGPT: ChatGPT is a computer program created by OpenAI that uses advanced machine learning techniques to generate human-like responses to natural language prompts. It can be used for tasks such as language translation, text completion, and chatbot services.
Benefits & Drawbacks
HAZEL: What are some of the benefits of using ChatGPT?
CHATGPT: ChatGPT offers several benefits such as efficiency, accuracy, scalability, flexibility, and natural language processing. It can quickly generate accurate and consistent responses based on the data it has been trained on. It is easily scalable to handle large volumes of data and requests and can be fine-tuned and customized to specific use cases and applications. ChatGPT is capable of processing natural language, making it easier for users to interact with and understand compared to traditional computer interfaces.
HAZEL: What are some of the drawbacks of ChatGPT?
(Note: There are “capabilities and limitations” examples printed right on the user interface. So it’s not like it’s pretending to be something its not.)
CHATGPT: ChatGPT, like any AI language model, has some limitations and drawbacks. These include bias, limited understanding, lack of reasoning ability, and limited personalization. ChatGPT’s training data can reflect human biases and stereotypes, resulting in biased responses. The model also lacks the ability to reason and think critically, cannot apply common sense or make logical deductions, and does not have access to personal information about individual users for personalization. Additionally, ChatGPT does not have emotions like humans do, making it difficult to empathize or connect with users on an emotional level. While ChatGPT is an impressive AI language model, these limitations should be taken into consideration when using it.
Security & Privacy
HAZEL: What are the security issues surrounding the use of ChatGPT?
CHATGPT: The security issues surrounding the use of ChatGPT include privacy concerns, malicious input, social engineering attacks, bias and misinformation, and unauthorized access. Sensitive personal information could be intercepted or used for phishing attacks, and the system could be vulnerable to viruses or malware that could infect the user’s device. Social engineering attacks could occur when attackers impersonate a trusted source to obtain sensitive information. The system could also generate responses that are inaccurate, offensive, or inappropriate, which could harm the reputation of individuals or organizations. To mitigate these risks, it is important to implement proper security measures and exercise caution when using ChatGPT.
Writing & Plagiarism
HAZEL: How can writers make use of ChatGPT?
CHATGPT: Writers can use ChatGPT for idea generation, writing assistance, research, personalization, and collaboration. It can help writers generate prompts, suggest topics, check grammar, provide information, and co-write content. However, it’s important to keep in mind the limitations of ChatGPT and use it in combination with other sources of information and feedback. Overall, ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for writers in various stages of the writing process.
Is AI About to REPLACE Human Writers? (This is the panel discussion I mentioned earlier.)
Teachers are adapting to concerns about a powerful new AI tool (This one addresses plagiarism and how ChatGPT can actually be used to help teach writing. The discussion reminds me of the days when teachers debated whether or not to allow kids to use those newfangled calculators in school. I am old enough to remember being glad we could only use slide rules on tests because I couldn’t afford a calculator!)
Art & Photography
HAZEL: How can artists make use of AI? (In this case I said “AI” because ChatGPT is not a tool for creating art.)
CHATGPT: Artists can use AI in various ways, including creating digital art, enhancing traditional art, developing new tools, analyzing and categorizing art, and creating art exhibitions. AI can provide new tools and techniques to artists, allowing them to generate images or animations based on specific parameters, improve the quality of scanned or photographed artwork, analyze the style, color palette, or composition of artwork, curate exhibits, and create interactive installations. However, it is important for artists to use AI in conjunction with traditional art-making techniques and personal creativity.
HAZEL: How can genealogists make use of AI?
CHATGPT: AI can be beneficial to genealogists in a number of ways, including record matching, natural language processing, image recognition, DNA analysis, and research assistance. AI can help genealogists identify family members, construct family trees, uncover previously unknown information about ancestors, and provide summaries of historical information. However, genealogists should use AI alongside other sources of information and be aware of the potential biases of AI.
HAZEL: What should genealogists watch out for when using ChatGPT?
CHATGPT: Genealogists should exercise caution when using ChatGPT as a tool for genealogy research. They should be aware of its limitations in accuracy, context, data privacy and security, and potential biases. Genealogists should verify any information obtained through ChatGPT with other sources, be specific and clear in their questions, and handle sensitive information with care. ChatGPT can be a useful tool for genealogy research, but it should be used in conjunction with other sources of information.
Genealogy and Artificial Intelligence – This Facebook group is the best source of discussion on that topic I have found. Every day someone posts an example of something that worked for them, or didn’t work. I could write a whole post just about that. (See: The Gift that Keeps on Giving section below.)
HAZEL: I am a professional organizer. I help clients declutter their unwanted possessions. Please list five ways that it might be possible to match unwanted items with people who can make use of them.
(Sometimes it helps to set the scene for ChatGPT.)
CHATGPT: (Not only did it come up with five ways to donate, gift, sell, and swap unwanted items, I kept asking it for more and it kept giving me more. I stopped when it started paraphrasing itself, after 30+ perfectly good ideas.)
HAZEL: Create a series of 20 Tweetables based on this blog post: Are you and your clutter ready to “Go With the Flow”?
(I did not actually use a hyperlink, but I did cut and paste the entire post into my prompt.)
CHATGPT: (I won’t list them here, but it did spit out 20 Tweetables — short messages suitable for posting on Twitter — and they’re all really good!)
HAZEL: Please write five limericks about decluttering and/or organizing.
(I repeated the request a few times — five more please! — some were terrible, but this one made me laugh.)
A lady had too many papers,
That caused her countless capers.
She filed them with care,
And organized with flair,
Now she finds what she needs without vapors.
(Is ChatGPT old fashioned and sexist? Could be!)
HAZEL: What are some benefits of using flow charts?
(This question is, of course, related to marketing my new book Go With the Flow! The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook.)
CHATGPT: (A list of six good benefits — thanks, ChatGPT!)
Creating a Presentation
(I recently gave a presentation to members of The Photo Managers members on this topic: “How to Include Genealogy in Your Photo Business Even if You Aren’t a Genealogist.”)
HAZEL: Create an outline for a presentation about how to incorporate genealogy in your photo management business.
CHATGPT: (I had already created my own presentation and did not feel the need to alter it after asking, but it did give me a terrific outline!)
HAZEL: Please write five haikus linking genealogy (or ancestry, or family history) with photos and stories.
CHATGPT: (I repeated the request a few times — five more please! —and I used this one despite the fact that the last line has six syllables, not five. I also admitted it was AI-generated, as a talking point.)
Photos and stories,
Family history comes alive,
HAZEL: how to select a genealogist
(It’s natural for me to be polite when chatting with ChatGPT, but it’s also entirely unnecessary. I am not always polite, and my sentences are not always complete. If I don’t like the answer I can always refine my prompt.)
CHATGPT: (It gave me six really good tips!)
HAZEL: How can someone at home make use of ChatGPT?
CHATGPT: ChatGPT can be utilized in several ways by individuals at home. It can be used for fun and entertainment, as a research tool, a writing assistant, a personal assistant, or even as a source of mental health support. One can engage in witty banter, ask it questions about specific topics, get it to generate summaries of articles, write a portion of the content, help to organize the day, set reminders, or even provide recommendations for restaurants or other activities. While it is not a substitute for professional therapy, some people find it helpful to talk to ChatGPT about their feelings or emotions.
HAZEL: Do you know what language this is? “Vejam isto Uma maravilha Acordai”
CHATGPT: Yes, that appears to be Portuguese. In English, the phrase would roughly translate to “Look at this, a marvel. Wake up.”
HAZEL: What should I consider when remodeling a shower for accessibility?
CHATGPT: (A list of seven really good things to consider – thanks, ChatGPT!)
HAZEL: What are the best ways to ask readers for book reviews?
CHATGPT: (A list of six really good ideas — thanks, ChatGPT!)
Just for fun, I asked ChatGPT to tell me a bit about myself. It was the easiest topic I could think of to verify. I already knew it would likely tell me about a random (or fabricated) Hazel Thornton if I were not specific so I prompted: “What can you tell me about Hazel Thornton, author, genealogist, professional organizer, and Menendez juror?” It got a few things right – birth year, current location, business name. And a few things wrong — birth day, birth place, year(s) I served as a juror.
But this was the funniest part:
As an author, Thornton has written several books, including “Go-Go-Go!: How to Get Going When You Don’t Feel Like It,” “Organize Your Home in a Week,” and “Making the Most of Your Genealogy Research Trip.”
Why is that so funny? Because no such books exist, not written by me or by anyone else! Great titles, though, no? Oh, and AI-me has been featured in “The New York Times,” “Better Homes and Gardens,” and “Real Simple.” (Um, more like the Albuquerque Journal and the SpareFoot Blog, lol.) And as a genealogist, I have “received several awards and honors for her contributions to the field.” Oh, really? I wish!
HAZEL: Please list your sources for this information.
ChatGPT is good at “Words, not facts.”
(Sorry, I guess there was a quiz after all.)
I told my friend, organizing colleague, and blogging buddy, Julie Bestry, about this. We share an interest in time travel books and speculative fiction. My story triggered (in her) a great idea for a novel, which involves ChatGPT (or similar AI tool) having access to multiple alternate universes. I’m thinking it could be a mystery, where the protagonist has to figure out what’s going on in order to save the world. Who knows? The possibilities are endless. If someone steals the idea, you heard it here first. Or, maybe it’s not so farfetched and Alt-Hazel really did write those books and articles and win those awards? Or, maybe all of this will happen in my future?
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
I have read enough of ChatGPTs responses to my prompts, and have experienced the ease of generating multiple points related to a topic, such that that I believe I am getting to be able to recognize ChatGPT-generated articles out in the wild when I see them. It has a concise, grammatical, writing style that is beyond what most amateur writers can accomplish. And, let’s face it, most writers on the internet today are not professionals. You don’t have to be. I’m not. I just have things to say, and I say them as best I can. But if ChatGPT writing is used as is, it’s devoid of….heart. There’s nothing like injecting a bit of yourself — your thoughts, your experiences, your emotions, your favorite colorful language — into your writing. Your “voice” still matters to your audience, I think. Don’t you?
I must wrap up this post because I’m already inundated with information… and to think that the AI tidal wave has only just begun!. There are probably examples and links I wanted to include and forgot, but I think you get the drift. This reminds me of the “Endless Information” chapter in Judith Kolberg’s book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What To Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not! That book is now ten years old, but it applies now more than ever.
HAZEL: Thank you for your time today.
CHATGPT: You’re welcome! I’m here to assist you with any questions or tasks you may have. Just let me know how I can be of help.
- Copyright 2023 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life and Beyond
- Hazel is an author, genealogist, and retired home and office organizer.
- Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror
- What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy
- Go With the Flow! The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook
- Feel free to link directly to this post! Click here to ask about other uses.