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I had an instant and alarming negative gut reaction, when I heard about ChatGPT…

It obviously had to come.

It is progress.

It is mind-blowingly uncomfortable to anyone who considers that they have a vested interest in, or passion for creative writing.

It is also scarily brilliant.

#AI is developing rapidly, and is now entering into (and taking over) so many areas of our life, that it is impossible to not at least give it the occasional thought.

I remember my first introduction to a ‘robot’…and I remember being terrified.

This was however, a ‘friendly robot’ by the name of ‘Robby’, who was found by a young lad called ‘Will Robinson’, who repaired and brought him back to life. This was in a TV series from my childhood, called ‘Lost In Space’- which I loved, (with a ‘watching -through- half-closed- fingers’ sort of love.)

I say ‘loved’, but it was more a mixture of excitement and sheer terror, with a longing for the scary bit to arrive, whilst hoping it never did!

Along with ‘Will Robinson’, his family, and a bit of a scaredy-cat scientist, by the name of ‘Dr. Zachary Smith’, ‘Robby’ defended his group and upheld ’virtue’.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I heard about the ChatGPT app. (Not sure if I was a bit late to the party here?🤔)

Anyway, I had my wary, indignant and ‘wanting to really hate it‘ head on, as I grudgingly typed in my details, which I traded in return for access into the deepest, darkest, scary AI vault.

What happened next?

Well, I was presented with a search bar. What should I ask it?

Is it going to understand me?

Or, will I be met with “Computer says naaaw”?

I started off by asking it some random questions, which were duly answered with lightening speed.

I then asked some more specific things along the lines of ‘please write me 200 words on the meaning of life’ etc. (I did have a bit of a moment, deliberating on how polite I should be ...Having been brought up to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, I saw no need to let standards drop just because I was communicating with an AI, so each fulfilled request was met with a grateful acknowledgement. Yes, yes… I fully appreciate this is OTT- especially as I was so inherently ADAMANT ( Not ‘Prince Charming’) that we weren’t going to be friends.

I am not ashamed to say that I was deliberately trying to be as obtuse/vague as I could, thinking that it will never pick up the nuances of some of my requests.

“Darn it, and flaming microchips”-it understood perfectly,on each occasion.

I then gave it a final project to work on.

Looking in the drawer of my fridge, I had a thought.

A-ha! Right then…you clever sticks, fancy pants AI...

Give me a recipe for dinner, to include the following items…aubergine, potatoes, green beans and three or four other items which to be fair, were no longer looking their shiny, pristine best.(I actually think that I missed off the ‘please’, out of sheer frustration.)

Yes, you’ve guessed it.

Up pops said recipe.

I deliberate didn’t use it.

Ha!That’ll teach it to be a smart ****.

So, the question is-

How do I feel about it now?

On the one hand, the responses were ‘clinical’.

By this, I mean it writes ‘factually’. There is no ‘conversational’ tone, or emotion.(Phew!)

In terms of using it to produce an engaging piece of text, I would say that the jury is out.

To coax the best out of it, you need to know the questions to ask.

I also desperately want it to NOT live up to acclaim, and for it to fall WAY short of the mark.

I worry for the future of human scribes, and anyone who will be negatively impacted by its‘ presence.

This is not ‘progressive thinking’ on my part, I claim the title of ‘a bit of a dinosaur’ in some respects, but holy-moly, I had to admit to being reluctantly impressed with my first ‘conversation’.

(Despite being left with the feeling of having let myself down/traitor to the cause.)

Only time will tell whether or not this turns out to be a cheap imitation…looking like the real thing on the packet, but ultimately flawed and lacking something.

Presumably the information it provides is programmed into it, or gleaned from the internet, so who knows?

It will also throw up a lot of disruptions, e.g. ‘ongoing assessment’ learning.

Will all degree students etc. now need to return to traditional exam settings?🤔

I‘d be interested to hear your perspective on this angel/demon…

In the meantime, I’m off to do a bit of good, old-fashioned pen and inking.

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