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ChatGPT (as?) Me

ChatGPT can be seen as a tool to enhance productivity or to accelerate the end of days. The optimist in me sees the potential in Artificial Intelligence (AI). As with any technology, it’s people who weaponize it. The moment you can create a nuclear weapon out of household goods is the day we all should contemplate the afterlife. Assuming controls are in place, we might actually find value in AI. Then again, it might just steal all of our jobs. As a creative type, I have to admit to being both delighted and humbled by the speed and accuracy of ChatGPT when I started using it.

Consider my chat, “summarize War and Peace in one paragraph”:

“War and Peace” is a classic novel by Leo Tolstoy, set in 19th-century Russia during the Napoleonic era. The epic story revolves around the lives of five aristocratic families and their experiences during times of war and peace. It delves into themes of love, ambition, fate, and the human condition. The narrative masterfully interweaves the personal journeys of its characters, showcasing the effects of war on society and individuals, while also exploring profound philosophical reflections on life and historical events. The novel’s vast scope and intricate character development make it a timeless exploration of the human spirit, offering profound insights into the complexities of human relationships, the consequences of our actions, and the pursuit of personal and societal meaning.

Now consider something far more personal for me, “summarize the content of alexandersmap.com in one paragraph”:

“Live with intention, embrace the journey, and seek a deep connection with the world around you. Be curious, explore new places, and appreciate the beauty of nature. Cultivate gratitude for the small moments and cherish the relationships with loved ones. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and find balance between work, leisure, and reflection. Understand that life is a continuous learning process, and wisdom comes from experiences, failures, and self-awareness. Strive to leave a positive impact on others and the planet, fostering a sense of community and global consciousness. Ultimately, find purpose in living authentically, mindfully, and with a sense of wonder, making the most of every moment on this extraordinary journey through life.”

Wow. Lovely summary, and great advice! But it raises a serious question: Why go on writing? If AI can tap into everything we’ve ever done and write in our style, why should we create anything at all? Well, because we are each processing our own data aren’t we? Life is a string of days figuring things out at our own pace, and writing offers a way to create something beyond ourselves. We ought to continue writing our own verse, not just in spite of it all, but because the ripple matters. ChatGPT didn’t create my words, it summarized them from an admittedly modest ripple across the Internet. Somewhere within there is my contribution. Somewhere in there is me.

In the context of infinity none of this matters a great deal anyway, but it matters just enough to keep at it. We aren’t nihilists, we’re artists. Art is an expression of something profoundly unique deep within us. Maybe AI can mine a large enough sample size to offer a close-enough copy, but it’s still nothing but a derivative of the original work. So keep doing the work.

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One Comment

  1. Yeah, the so-called AI I’ve sampled online is from Google. It seems to do a great job summarizing and formatting from existing information, but in no way demonstrates creativity, initiative, or pretty much any human non-logical trait. “I’m sorry Dave; I’m afraid I can’t do that.”


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