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June 14th, 2023
I still don’t talk to “Siri” or “Alexa”, so when I heard about this “Chad” guy, I didn’t think much about it; until somebody started to explain that “he” can write anything in seconds – term papers, business contracts, sermons, marketing plans, etc.
That scared me, because it sounds like the skill I am most dependent on is about to be replaced by computers.
(You’ll have to read to the bottom to find out why the name seemed ironic).
I thought I should look this Chad thing up, so I typed in something like…
What is Chad GDP?
When I started getting results for the Gross Domestic Product of Chad, the country in Africa, I figured I was on the wrong track… I guess it’s a good thing Google’s Artificial Intelligence still knew what I was talking about and graciously steered me to ChatGPT instead.
What does Chat GPT stand for?
The initials that follow Chat are GPT, which stands for Generative Pre-Trained Transformer. I don’t know if I will ever retain that acronym; but I’ll do my best to hammer them into my head by going through each part:
Where Does the Word Generative Come From in ChatGPT?
According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, the word “Generative” is an adjective, meaning:
“Having the power of generating or propagating its own species”.
- Having the power of producing.
(Maybe I’m not the only one who had to look up prolific, which old Noah Webster notated as “fruitfulness; great productiveness”.
Technically, ChatGPT could generate this blogpost.
- Artificial Intelligence can write copy.
- AI can find a photograph to use for the thumbnail.
- Computers can edit out my mistakes.
- Generative technology has the capability to make my work obsolete.
At least to some extent, it seems data generated by a computer could render my hard work useless, couldn’t it?
What Does Pre-Trained Mean in Chat GPT?
From what I understand, Chat GPT pulls from the multitude of data available over the internet to generate information for those seeking advice from it. It can:
- Use forms it finds on the web to make one tailored to a users specific needs
- Pull text from any given topic to create content addressing that subject
- Give advice to those soliciting help for varied situations
In these applications, and innumerable others, Chat GPT relies on being trained by human creators, whether they realize their work is being utilized or not.
How is ChatGPT a Transformer?
Applications like ChatGPT are changing everything – from the way information is generated to how it is disseminated to the public. Business, education, personal communication, social interactions, and basically every facet of life is being altered and effected in some way by artificial intelligence.
Who is Being Effected by ChatGPT?
The better question is “Who is not being effected by apps like ChatGPT”?
On second thought, the crickets are probably going to have repercussions somehow.
When “the horseless carriage” came along, even those determined to stick with a wagon had their lives changed in some way. Look at today’s Amish population. Yes, many of them still abide by a horse and buggy, or draft animals and hand-steered implements, despite their neighbors bringing in combines; but they had adjustments to make as a culture in order to protect and preserve themselves just the same.
There are those that will sign up for ChatGPT with enthusiasm, others who will be more hesitant, and those who will dig in their heels and refuse to touch it.
That doesn’t matter.
Applications like ChatGPT are going to alter our society, and some understanding of what it is will help each of us to cope with the changes.
What is Chat GPT?
The best answer I’ve been able to come across when I ask “What is Chat GPT” is that it’s an AI Chatbot. Does that explain everything, or nothing at all?
My font is making that capitol “i” look like a lower-case “L”, which I can see causing more confusion – it’s a.i. not AL.
I know AI stands for “Artificial Intelligence”; but have no idea what a Chatbot is. Is it like talking to a robot? Like Rosey from the Jetsons?
A Chatbot is essentially a computer generated program that interacts using voice or text. A primitive example is making a phone call and having to follow a multitude of prompts before being able to speak to a real person. Lately, chatbots have been appearing more on computer screens, usually with the words “How can I help?”. At this point, people aren’t so much asking what it can do as they are announcing that it can pretty much do everything.
Is AI Out of Control?
Right now, people are wavering between awe in what AI can accomplish, and cringing at the skills and culture that it might destroy.
It’s like a snowball that a kid happily formed, pushing it along the ground until it got too big to budge. He enlisted a few friends, and then a small group saw the idea and surrounded the growing sphere. Before they knew it, they were rolling it forward, toward the crest of a hill.
Here it is 2023, and that globe of ice, made by many mittened hands, seems to have slipped over the precipice. Like a runaway snowball, Artificial Intelligence is picking up speed.
Most of us are bystanders, watching it grow and disappear beyond our grasp of understanding, wondering what AI might crash into in it’s course; but also fascinated by it’s capability.
What will AI change?
- Customer Service
- Social Interaction
How Will ChatGPT effect me?
I must have had my head buried in the sand for a bit of time while my mom was on Hospice, because I only heard about ChatGPT within the last week. As someone who is seeking to build a writing business, I can’t say I’m too excited about competing with a computer.
It isn’t so much that I think AI can generate better content, it’s the worry that mine will be buried in the search engines, especially if I express any kind of concern over apps like ChatGPT. I suppose there’s also the possibility that my work will be stolen outright, and mixed into a conglomeration for somebody else to say they created it.
In future posts, I’d like to address the issue of Artificial Intelligence, and apps like ChatGPT, and how they will effect our culture, especially in the arenas of publishing, writing, and creativity.
I still laugh about mishearing the name, and thinking the app was called “Chad” with several initials behind it, because when my mom was sick, she’d watch her neighbor, Chad, out the front window to see what he would do next.
To her, there was nothing Chad couldn’t do. At one point, due to her dementia, she thought he was running the nursing home she was in (having forgotten she was still living in her own house). When she fell, he helped her off the floor. He even loaned her the use of his Labrador Retriever to keep her company. Chad was that kind of helpful neighbor.
If my mom had heard that kid last week tell me, “Chad can write term papers, business contracts, sermons, marketing plans – he can write anything you want him to – in seconds!” She wouldn’t have been shocked one bit. She would have just nodded her head and said, “I know! Chad can do anything!”
As for Alexa, I know my mom probably offended her by saying, “Alexis” too often. And she probably made Siri mad by hissing, “Siri! – Can you hear me?” when she couldn’t figure out how to turn her iPhone flashlight turned off.
If you want a good laugh, turn up your volume and watch the video below until the end.
I don’t think ChatGPT could have come up with the kind of content my mom created when she was living. The More On My Mom section of this blog includes lots of memories and laughter from life with her after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Here’s a sample from the time I got second place in the dog-look-alike-contest; but my mom “stole the show”.
Are you concerned about Artificial Intelligence and how it will effect the realm or writing?
Please feel free to leave a comment below of any aspects you would like for me to address.
Thanks so much, Jody