This post was written by a computer… Will computers ever overtake humans?

While plausible, it is somewhat unlikely that you the reader will have gone through the past few weeks without having come across the new research preview of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s new generative language model.  Some of the more serious technologists have put ChatGPT up against the worlds difficult questions, forced it to write poetry, and debating the future of plagiarism.  Instead, I have asked it to produce progressively sillier and sillier pieces of work.  Here are a few of its fruits.

Wesley & Chocolate

In my quest to produce silly text from an AI, I fed our virtual friend the following prompt “Write a Christian hymn in the style of Charles Wesley entitled ‘Oh Christ art thou like a chocolate bar’”.  This is what it produced:

Oh Christ, art thou like a chocolate bar,
Sweet and rich and satisfying,
Bringing joy and comfort to the heart,
A delight that is worth the trying.

In thee we find a source of strength,
A refuge in the time of need,
A guide to lead us on the path,
A friend who will not lead us astray.

Oh Christ, art thou like a chocolate bar,
A source of comfort and of joy,
Bringing hope and happiness to all,
A treasure that can never be destroyed.

In thee we find a well of love,
A fount of grace and mercy free,
A shelter from the storm and tempest,
A refuge from all anxiety.

Oh Christ, art thou like a chocolate bar,
A source of strength and nourishment,
Bringing peace and joy to all who trust,
A treasure that can never be spent.

In thee we find a path to life,
A way to salvation and to God,
A guide to lead us to eternal joy,
A friend who will never leave us alone

Hobbitus Hobbitus

To test its multilingual abilities, I asked it to “Write a poem about Hobbits in Latin”.  Alas as someone who doesn’t speak Latin I cannot vouch for it’s accuracy or lack thereof… (Though it does sound cool!)

Hobbitus, Hobbitus,
Parvus sed fortis,
In collibus verdantibus
Vivunt et gaudent.

Pedes sunt pilosos
Et amant cibum bonum,
Vitam agunt otiosam
Et nunquam cogitant.

Sunt benigni et felices,
Amor domus et focus,
Voluptates sunt simplices,
Sed contenti sunt sortis suae.

Cum cubilibus calidis
Et hortis et cannis et cantu,
Hobbiti vivunt,
Nescientes et solliciti.

Sunt enim Hobbiti fortis
Et sciunt pretium amicitiae et risus,
Et licet sint parvi,
Corda sunt magna et spiritus est fortis.

Ergo tollamus calicem,
Hobbitis fortibus et veris,
Dies sint plenae gaudii,
Et vitae benedicantur pacem et copia.

To Deprecate

Finally I decided to ask our artificial friend to score the ultimate own goal.  I asked it to “write an argument explaining why generative AI will never be as good at humans at writing”.  And here is what it produced:

There are several reasons why generative AI will never be as good as humans at writing.

First and foremost, humans have the ability to think and feel, which gives us the capacity for creativity and originality. Generative AI, on the other hand, is limited by its programming and can only generate content based on pre-determined rules and algorithms. This means that it cannot come up with truly unique ideas or perspectives, as it is simply following a set of instructions.

Furthermore, humans have the ability to understand and convey complex emotions and experiences through language. Generative AI may be able to replicate certain emotional responses, but it lacks the depth and nuance of human understanding and expression.

Additionally, humans have an extensive vocabulary and knowledge base, which allows us to use language in a sophisticated and nuanced manner. Generative AI, while it may have access to a large dataset of words and phrases, is not able to fully comprehend the meaning and context of these words in the same way that humans do.

Lastly, humans have the ability to revise and edit their writing, taking into account feedback and critiques from others. Generative AI does not have this capability and is unable to improve or adapt its writing in the same way that humans can.

Overall, the limitations of generative AI prevent it from being able to fully replicate the depth and complexity of human writing. It may be able to generate basic content, but it will never be able to match the creativity, nuance, and adaptability of human writing.

In conclusion

Forgive the relative formality of the In Conclusion heading, however were it lacking, my writing could be confused with ChatGPT’s.  This wouldn’t be overly catastrophic, however I fear this may sour your opinion of the quality of the produce of this fascinating model.

Playing with ChatGPT has been a lot of fun, and using it is very easy.  While ChatGPT could probably replace my writing, is it indicative that AI will make all journalists redundant? Will we cease to read published fiction but instead read reams of text tailored to our tastes by a generative neural network?  I doubt it.  Ironically, I think our AI friend has done a decent job of explaining why.  Novices in any given field often struggle to know their limitations… The same can’t be said here!

However I can see a few very obvious areas in which the ease of access to these technologies could have a significant impact:

  • Education – Text such as that produced by ChatGPT could be used by students in universities and schools to plagiarise coursework.  At the very least, the existence of these tools will make a markers job in detecting plagiarism a fair bit harder.
  • Chat bots – Somewhat obvious, as this is the aim behind ChatGPT, but the increased prevalence of this technology could have a significant impact on the quality of customer service chatbots (you know, the ones used to keep customers from talking to real people!).
  • Corporate social media – So far generative AI works best when producing short amounts of text.  It is possible, that over time companies and institutions could use some descendent of our artificial chatty friend to automate the process of posting on their social media.

It will certainly be interesting to monitor future developments, but for now I’m going to continue getting it to do funny things.

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