How I learned to stop worrying and love ChatGPT.
ChatGPT could never have written this article.
The new A.I. program may be the hottest ticket in Silicon Valley at the moment, coming soon to Capitol Hill and possibly a college classroom near you — even if they don’t know it yet — but it isn’t the career-ending catastrophe so many fear.
ChatGPT, in its days-old short life, has already put up some impressive achievements. It passed the bar and the official U.S. Medical Licensing exam — no mean feat.
Most recently, the advanced AI program even trounced the Wharton Business School’s core exam.
In the immortal words of Wharton’s Christian Terwiesch, “Would Chat GPT3 Get a Wharton MBA? A Prediction Based on Its Performance in the Operations Management Course”, Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2023.”:
“OpenAI’s Chat GPT3 has shown a remarkable ability to automate some of the skills of highly compensated knowledge workers in general and specifically the knowledge workers in the jobs held by MBA graduates including analysts, managers, and consultants.”
The aforementioned analysts, managers, and consultants are, of course, terrified. High school teachers and college professors are equally afraid. High school literature students and college English majors are, no doubt, thrilled — “Give me 1500 words on France’s role in the U.S. Revolutionary War and the war’s impact on French literature and make it snappy.”
Open AI’s revolutionary new chat machine — thinkbot, datacat, smartchat?— was, in the words of one Davos attendee, “All anyone talked about this year.”
But ChatGPT isn’t going to replace human content producers anytime soon. It’s better than a search engine but it’s far from a genie of the lamp.
Many of those who were first to criticize this brand-new addition to our technological toolbox probably didn’t even try it first.
Using ChatGPT is a bit like having an intern with, “Limited knowledge of world and current events after 2021,” who you have to be very specific with at all times and supervise very closely because they, “May occasionally generate incorrect information,” and, “May occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content.”
Sure a law-office intern can make copies, sort files, and write briefs. Understanding how each piece of a legal puzzle is relevant to the larger whole, and putting those disparate pieces together — with all the human components added in— takes a higher level of experience and attention.
It takes creativity; which ChatGPT doesn’t have.
Chat GPT can give you a basic list of 10 great works of English literature as follows:
- “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
- “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville
- “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
- “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte
- “1984” by George Orwell
- “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad
- “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
- “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
It can even give you this little gem — if you ask it to explain the point of Pride and Prejudice:
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen is a classic novel that explores themes of love, society, class, and first impressions.”
“The main point of the book is to show the flaws and follies of societal expectations and how these affect the relationships between characters. The title refers to the two main obstacles that prevent the protagonists, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, from acknowledging their feelings for each other: Elizabeth’s pride and Darcy’s prejudice.”
“Through their interactions, Austen shows the importance of overcoming such personal biases and societal norms in order to achieve true happiness and understanding. Ultimately, “Pride and Prejudice” is a commentary on the limitations of societal norms and the transformative power of personal growth and self-awareness.”
Though many times, you might see this error message instead: “An error occurred. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at help.openai.com.”
What ChatGPT cannot do, even when it is working, is tell someone what questions to ask. It can’t think creatively.
ChatGPT can’t tell an employee at any level what to do and how to do it. It is, like our wonderful smartphones, an excellent tool that will likely help scores of white-collar workers from various industries accomplish a bit more during their average harried workday.
Luckily, most employees — at least the good ones — have a whole host of other tasks an artificial know-it-all could never do.
ChatGPT can return an excellent amalgamation of information, even organize it effectively — sometimes. But it can’t generate anything that hasn’t been entered in; it can’t imagine anything new.
It can’t match the quantum creative processing power of the human brain, which is capable of making so many advanced connections over so many disparate emotional, social, and cultural landscapes, Haiku made an art form of it.
Let’s see ChatGPT do that.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)