Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Can AI (ChatGPT) Replace Writing?

AI writing (ChatGPT, etc.) is supposed to be transformative and all, the Washington Post tells me.

 The New York Times  worries about jobs; no worries, says the Washington Post, since AI requires "chat whisperers" to get the best from the software. CNET tried publishing articles written using it, but oops--too many mistakes.

AI can also spark creativity, apparently, although the examples most outlets choose to illustrate the creative problem-solving sound like obvious solutions. It's more of a springboard to creativity than a solution to writing, as scifi magazines have found out since they were flooded with AI-written stories and had to stop submissions for a while.

But what can the writing part of AI do well as of this writing?

1. Perfect C essays, all correct grammar, platitudes, puffery, and no substance.

2. Mission statements, ditto. 

There are surely nuances I'm missing, but everything I've seen so far either when testing it myself or when reading about it has been pretty much on the spectrum from 1 to 2.

It will get better, but ChatGPT--which, yes, is in its infancy--is so far like a bar trick--you know, where someone puts a quarter inside a bottle or something by magic means, or folds a dollar bill in a certain way to win a bet. I can't be more specific because I mostly only see this on Better Call Saul, but you know what I mean. 

There's been a lot of hand-wringing about how this might affect the classroom: one IHE writer calls it a "plague on education"  while others suggest creative uses for it. Some instructors have started using it to get students to question their assignments and test its limits. 

I'm kind of eager to see how this might work in the classroom next year. What about you?

Edited to add: Here's the first paragraph of what it wrote when I asked it to write like me. Like looking in a mirror, don't you think? This blog is all about the peppy self-help pitch, am I right?

Write a blog post in the style of 


"The Art of Doing Nothing" Greetings and salutations, my dear readers! Today, I would like to talk about the lost art of doing nothing. Yes, you heard that right, doing nothing! In our fast-paced world, it seems like everyone is in a rush to do something, be it work, hobbies, or socializing. The constant stimulation and activity can be exhausting and leave us feeling drained. But, what if I told you that taking a break from it all and doing nothing can actually be beneficial for our health and well-being? Studies have shown that taking time to do nothing can reduce stress, increase creativity, and improve our overall mental and physical health. It's a simple concept, but often overlooked. So, how exactly can we incorporate this into our daily lives? One way to start is by simply taking a few minutes each day to sit quietly and do nothing. No phone, no TV, no distractions.