Having fun with ChatGPT
Intro to ChatGPT
ChatGPT has recently been released to the public and I’ve had the chance to play around with it. It’s a powerful tool that can help with a number of tasks, from creating high-level summaries to quickly brainstorming ideas. It can even generate the feel of documents that can then be further customized, such as an admissions essay.
Imagine being able to ask a question and get an answer in a fraction of a second. Imagine being able to quickly generate content that is both relevant and engaging. This is the power of ChatGPT, a new generative-AI technology that is transforming the way we interact with machines and with each other.
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence system that combines natural language processing with deep learning. It uses sophisticated algorithms to understand language, generate conversations, and respond to questions with accurate and insightful answers. What’s more, it can do all of this in real-time, meaning that you can receive an answer to your query in mere seconds.
This tool can be useful in a number of scenarios. For example, a writer who is tasked with creating a blog post on a tight deadline can use ChatGPT to quickly generate a basic outline of the post. By inputting the topic and some key points they want to cover, the ChatGPT can generate a list of relevant points, quotes, and statistics to include in the post. From there, the writer can quickly fill out the post with their own voice, knowledge, and insights to craft an engaging and informative piece of writing. With ChatGPT, the writer can save time and energy, allowing them to focus on the more creative aspects of the post and still deliver a high-quality piece of content.
Even without content development assistance, writers can use tools like ChatGPT to reduce the time spent editing. Instead of spending hours combing through the paper to fix grammar and syntax issues, the tool would do it for them. The written content would come out sounding smooth and intelligent, making it easier for the writer to produce professional-sounding content. Even better, the tool would suggest stylistic edits and help make the content more engaging. This would not only improve the quality, but also make the content more enjoyable to read.
By using natural language processing, ChatGPT can help detect grammatical errors, spot typos, and even provide helpful suggestions on how to improve the syntax of a sentence. In addition, it can also help give writing a more professional, articulate feel by smoothing out stilted or awkward phrasing. This could be particularly useful for students, business professionals, and others who need to craft documents, presentations, and other materials with a high degree of accuracy.
Now, the question is, how would you feel knowing that a draft was written by a chatbot? Is it still you? What if it passes the Turing Test? And how will Google be able to identify auto-written content from manually written? Who owns it? These are all questions I’m keeping in mind as I continue to explore ChatGPT.
– This post was written by ChatGPT, with art supplied by DALL·E 2.
Behind the scenes
To generate the above content through ChatGPT, I first typed out a bulleted outline as a brainstorm. I then asked ChatGPT to write an 800 word essay expanding on the outline’s points. From that original content generation, I asked ChatGPT to elaborate on some other ideas, which I then inserted into the original draft. I made a few minor adjustments to the content, that’s all. It took 5 minutes.
Same content but in the style of Emily Dickinson
Here’s the same content above but written in the style of Emily Dickinson:
Ah! What a mystery is ChatGPT-
A power that can shape and create,
From summaries to essays,
And help us with our fate.
It can answer questions in a trice,
Generate content that’s worth the price,
Real-time, accurate and wise,
It’s transforming how we converse with devices.
Writers can use it to quickly compile
A post on a deadline, with style,
Input the topic and the points,
The content generated will astound.
It can detect errors and typos too,
Suggest stylistic edits and smooth out the view,
From students to business professionals,
It helps them write with precision and excellence.
And yet, the questions that remain,
Are these: who owns it and will it pass the Turing Test?
Will Google be able to identify it as a machine?
Is this writing still us, or something in between?
Here are a few ChatGPT jokes involving technical writers:
tell me a joke involving a technical writer and an engineer in a bar. include a pun. make it farcical.
An engineer and a technical writer walk into a bar. The engineer says, “Wow, these drafts are really good!” The technical writer says, “I know, I tapped them out!”
tell me a joke about a technical writer who gets stuck in an elevator with donald trump.
Q: What did the technical writer say to Donald Trump when they got stuck in the elevator?
A: “It looks like we have some time to proofread your latest tweet!”
tell me a joke about a technical writer who gets stuck in an elevator with an engineer and a quality assurance person.
QA: I think we should have tested this elevator before we got in.
Engineer: Don’t worry, I’m sure the technical writer will write us a manual to get us out.
tell me a joke about a technical writer and an engineer who walk into a bar. make a pun on the word drafts
A technical writer and engineer walk into a bar and the engineer says, “I’ll have a draft beer,” and the technical writer says, “I’ll have a couple of drafts.”
What are my first thoughts on ChatGPT?
- First thought was, OMG, writers will now be extinct.
- Second realization was, OMG, programmers will also be extinct. (ChatGPT can also write and debug code.)
- Then, what shall I do with my time while the robots do all our work?
- Then, will readers feel cheated if they were to learn they were reading a bot? (You’re not reading a bot now, but it’s hard to tell, right?)
- Will the internet become saturated with AI-generated content? This content can surely achieve its usual purpose: to garner attention. If so, we’re screwed.
- Then, I’m keen to use all writing tools that can help. I sometimes use Grammarly to try to identify typos and awkward sentences. At the very least, ChatGPT could help with similar fixes.
- I might use this tool to create high-level summaries.
- Will my brain atrophy if this tool just does all the heavy lifting now? No more ability to distill content on my own?
- Most of the content ChatGPT produces is blah, so we probably shouldn’t be too worried about it. The Internet will basically become an echo chamber.
- ChatGPT’s best feature is probably writing short summaries of longer content. This could be especially useful when integrating research.
Or if you would prefer the above in more formal sentences, ChatGPT can help.
Write out the following bullet points in more formal sentences, after the style of faulkner.
My first thought upon hearing of ChatGPT was one of trepidation, as I wondered if it would spell the extinction of the writer and the programmer. This was swiftly followed by the realization that I would then have to find other ways to spend my time, and the worry that readers might feel cheated if they discovered they had been reading a bot.
I then considered the possibility that the Internet would soon be saturated with AI-generated content, and that this could be used to garner attention, to the detriment of us all. Having considered this, I was keen to use all the writing tools that were available to help me, and I wondered if ChatGPT could be used for similar fixes, or even to create high-level summaries.
I then pondered whether my own cognitive abilities might atrophy if I were to rely on this tool for all my heavy lifting, and determined that this was unlikely given that the content produced by ChatGPT is generally of a lesser quality. Finally, I considered the potential benefit of using ChatGPT to write short summaries of longer content, which could be especially useful when integrating research.
I wanted to see how ChatGPT would write an admissions essay.
write an admissions essay based on this prompt.
Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
I have always been an independent person. Growing up, I was never one to shy away from a challenge, so when I decided to attend a summer camp in a foreign country, I was more than ready for the adventure that awaited me.
The camp was located in a small village in the mountains of Ecuador. I was the only one in my group who had never been abroad before, so I was especially excited to experience a new culture and language. I was also terrified of the unfamiliarity, but I was determined to take on the challenge with enthusiasm.
During the three weeks I was there, I quickly adjusted to the customs, language, and way of life in the village. I was surprised to find out that I was able to communicate with the locals in their native language, Quichua. I was even able to help the other campers in my group with their language skills.
Most of all, I gained a new appreciation for the power of determination. Despite the difficulties and unfamiliarity I encountered in the village, I was able to make the most of my time there. I learned to be confident in my abilities and to embrace the unknown.
This experience has shaped my character and given me the courage to take on future challenges. I am now more confident in my ability to overcome any obstacles that stand in my way and to make the most of any new experiences that come my way.
ChatGPT identifies the expected discourse and shape of an admissions essay, and then generates the most predictable content for it. I’m so glad I didn’t try to send my kids to Ecuador to have an experience they could write about for their admissions essay! In this case, ChatGPT can help you identify and avoid cliches.
- AI Homework, Stratechery
- The Brilliance and Weirdness of ChatGPT, NYTimes
- Does ChatGPT Mean Robots Are Coming For the Skilled Jobs?, NYTimes
You can experiment with ChatGPT for free in the Open AI playground.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.