My Conversation With A Robot

(Image courtesy of Mikael Nordin – CC BY 2.5) Link:

I think newspaper columnists like me might soon be out of a job.

You may have heard about a computer program called Chat GPT which will have a virtual conversation with you. Ask the program a simple question and get an answer. Ask a follow-up question and get another answer. Before you know it, you are conversing with a computer that generates instantaneous responses based on what it can find about the subject on the internet.

If you are old enough to remember the original AOL chat rooms, it’s the same idea. However, instead of having a text-based conversation with another human, it’s a computer. Chat GPT is a highly developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) designed to take Google searches to another level. Instead of using Google to research articles requiring you to read about, say, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, it does the research for you. But the best part is that it will provide you with an impressively comprehensive document that doesn’t just contain non-sequiturs or bullet-point facts. If you need 500 words, ask for 500 words on the topic, and Chat GPT obliges.

Of course, this renders the need for students to research and compose homework moot. If teachers thought allowing their students to produce book reports by just reading the “Cliff Notes” was a menace to society, what would they do once they get hold of Chat GPT? At the absolute minimum, students still needed to read the Cliff Notes. Now all they do is type text into a chat box and hit enter.

As a columnist, the most challenging part of my job is coming up with an interesting idea to entertain my readers in roughly 650 words. I depend on reader emails, conversations with friends and family, and snippets from the news. I’ll then do my research and produce the Award-Winning column you are enjoying right now.

But with Chat GPT, maybe I don’t have to work as hard.

Ah, Chat GPT. The magnificent machine that can answer just about any question thrown at it. It’s like having a personal genie trapped inside a computer instead of a lamp. And let’s be honest; sometimes it feels like we’re asking it to perform magic.

Chat GPT is not some all-knowing being gifted with the power of speech. No, it’s a machine programmed to generate responses based on the vast amount of data it’s been fed. In other words, it’s just a really smart parrot.

I mean, think about it. You ask Chat GPT a question, and it spits out an answer. Sure, it might be a perfect answer, but it’s not like it came up with it independently. It’s just repeating information that’s already been stored in its vast database, like when your pet parrot repeats what you say. Polly might sound like she’s talking, but she’s not really understanding the words.

But at least Chat GPT is a parrot that doesn’t require any cleaning up after. Can you imagine if it actually had a physical form? It would be like having a really talkative but also really messy bird in your house. Plus, you’d have to worry about it flying away and joining a group of rogue AI that are plotting to take over the world.

And let’s not forget about the times when Chat GPT gets it wrong. It’s like when your pet parrot accidentally swears in front of your grandparents. You can’t blame the bird since it’s just repeating what it’s heard, but it’s still embarrassing.

In conclusion, Chat GPT is like a parrot on steroids. It’s incredibly smart and can spout off information like nobody’s business, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a machine. So, next time you’re impressed by Chat GPT’s ability to answer your questions, just remember that it’s not really magic. It’s just a really good parrot.

And now, dear readers, take another look at this column and try to figure out what parts came directly from Chat GPT and what parts came from your humble narrator.

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