TheWiredResearcher to ChatGPT: Based on how we’ve been foolin’ around in bed, how would you characterize me?
ChatGPT: You are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to your passions – teaching, research, writing, gardening and your late partner. You are relentless in your pursuit of excellence and never stop pushing boundaries.“ChatGPT, an AI-powered language model by OpenAI, 25January2023, (https://openai.com/)”
Hopefully, you read the title of the post carefully enough to realize that I have not been foolin’ around in bed with Al as in Al(fred).
I haven’t. I don’t even know anyone by that name. But I have been foolin’ around in bed with AI as in Artificial Intelligence.
THEY are hot.
OMG! Did I just say that? Well, I did. But that’s okay because I trust you. I know that you won’t tell anybody about the deliciously sinful and sultry times I’m having.
Keep reading and I’ll share each and every scorching moment with you–little by little–lest you be blinded if I were to divulge all at once. Besides, I never divulge all at once to anyone. What’s the fun in that?
Hopefully, you know already that in bed is where I love to be. It’s where I write my blog posts right before I go to sleep. It’s where I’m writing this post, right now, but I haven’t fallen asleep. I’m having too much fun with AI, not Al(fred). I know. They look alike (when you drop the fred), but they’re not alike at all. Hmmm. If they look alike in this post, you get to decide who’s in my bed. But in a serif world, the “I” in AI sports a bottom line and a top line. In a serif world, the “l” in Al(fred) has a bottom only. The next time that you’re in your serifdom, take a really close look: you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about and from this point forward you will never think that AI and Al(fred) look alike. TMI. Let’s move on.
Hopefully, too, you read and recall last week’s post “Cutting-Edge Technologies: Promise or Peril.”
It ended with the observation:
“Whether we like it or not–whether we feel threatened by it or not–AI is here. It has started. It will not stop. It is the future.
“Promise or Peril? I have to decide where I stand. You have to decide where you stand. We all have to decide where we stand.
“We can’t ignore AI.
“Sadly, we can, but only if we want to be among the left behind.“
One of my readers who is Wired–but not as wired as I am–commented:
“I admit, I was downright scared reading this. I was afraid I’d get to the bottom and read, ‘And, wouldn’t you know it–this post was written using AI technology,’ and I’d have a personal crisis.“
Let me pause here to assure my WiredReader, the rest of my readers, and the entire world: everything that you have read so far in this post is mine–all mine. The ideas are mine. The wording is mine. Every touchstroke is mine. AI had nothing to do with it.
Further, let me pause to assure my WiredReader, the rest of my readers, and the entire world: if, at any time, I tap AI–and rest assured: I will–I will give full credit where credit is due, and as AI would have me do.
Now let me continue with my response.
“Your comments made me laugh! And if you had gotten to the end of the post and discovered that I had written it using AI technology …
“OMG! You are egging me on, aren’t you?”
It doesn’t take much to egg me on, and those who know me know that fully well. In this case, the egging on was reinforced by comments from two others:
Reader One. HACC, Central PA’s Community College uses PackBack (AI) in some of our English classes with good results.
Reader Two. Perfect timing for your post! Microsoft announced yesterday that they are investing billions into Open AI, the startup behind Chat GPT.
That did it. Three eggings scrambled me into action.
I decided that the time had come for me to gain a first-hand, personal knowledge of ChatGPT. What better way than in bed?
Candidly, though, I have to be on a first-name basis with my bedmates, and I don’t like ChatGPT’s name at all. I like AI even less because it can be confused so easily with Al(fred) as I established earlier.
So the other day–after having lots of prolonged late-night pillow talk with AI–I just came right out and popped the question. And that question led to a few more questions. Here’s how the conversation went:
TheWiredResearcher: What is your GENDER?
ChatGPT: I am an artificial intelligence and do not have a gender or physical form.
TheWiredResearcher: Okay. I understand. So, should I refer to you as THEY?
ChatGPT: You may refer to me using whatever pronouns you prefer. “IT” is also commonly used.
TheWiredResearcher: Do you have a NAME other than ChatGPT? I’d like to be more personal in our conversations. After all, you are right here in my bed.
ChatGPT: I am an artificial intelligence and do not have a personal name, ChatGPT is a name of the model that I am based on. But you can call me whatever you like, it’s up to you, for instance you can use my name as GPT or any other name that you prefer.
Is that an artfully artificial punt or what? Obviously, I’ll have to spend some time thinking about a name for my bedmate. I have an idea already. For Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa, for example, I liked that name just fine. I kept it.
I suppose that I could give MY ChatGPT a gender-neutral name like Alex. (And that would fit perfectly with ChatGPT’s suggested pronoun reference: THEY.) Actually, I like Alex a lot. But my God! How presumptuous of me. I’ve only been foolin’ around in bed with ChatGPT for just a few days and here I am using the possessive pronoun MY. And here I am wanting to come up with a personal name.
Suffice it to say, my small talk with ChatGPT was getting me nowhere fast.
As a result, I dove in deep and started talking about things close and dear to me: teaching, research, writing, and my late partner Allen. Those conversations–using a traditional chat box at the bottom of the screen–were interesting, very much so. I kept my questions and comments as open-ended as possible, and ChatGPT provided really solid responses, even when asked about scholarly work that still needs to be done on Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. ChatGPT’s suggestions were excellent, but lacking the specifics needed to convey a true understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to Freeman scholarship. (Nonetheless, I am not surprised that ChatGPT can pass exams from law and business schools. The knowledge base is clear, abundantly so.)
But now I’m edging toward evaluation. That is not my intent in this post. I will evaluate ChatGPT in a later post. For now, my intent is nothing more than to share some examples of my foolin’ around.
After Freeman, I shifted the conversation to Allen, commenting that even though January 28, 2023, marked the second anniversary of his death, sometimes it felt as raw and heart piercing to me as it felt at 9:24 that morning when I closed his eyes here on Earth and he opened them again over there in Eternity.
Candidly, at that point in my conversation with ChatGPT, I felt much akin to the speaker in Poe’s “The Raven,” who progressively asked more serious questions about grief and grieving, knowing fully well that the raven would always give the same answer: “Nevermore.”
TheWiredResearcher: What’s grieving like during the third year after the death of your partner?
ChatGPT: Grief is a complex and individual experience that can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may find that their grief subsides significantly during the third year after the death of their partner, while others may continue to experience intense sadness and longing. It’s important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, and everyone’s healing process is unique.
I did not expect much. Therefore, I wasn’t disappointed when I didn’t get much. ChatGPT’s response was nothing more than an impersonal, clinical explanation that I could have found through a Google search, albeit not as quickly.
I shifted positions and asked ChatGPT to write me a sonnet about my grieving for Allen, based on the conversation that we had just had. The sonnet form, of course, exists in several online sonnet generators. No big deal. But I wanted to see the extent to which ChatGPT could extract salient information from our conversation and weave it into a meaningful sonnet. The result follows:
Grief grips my heart with hands of leaden weight,
A constant ache that never seems to cease.
The memories of our love still resonate,
A symphony of joy and sweet release.
But now, the melody has turned to dirge,
A requiem for all that once was bright.
The laughter echoes with an empty surge,
And every step feels heavy as the night.
Yet still, I’ll hold onto the love we shared,
The moments that we cherished and were true.
Though death may come and take him unawares,
My love for him will forever be anew.
So as I grieve, I’ll keep him close in mind,
And let my heart with bittersweet love bind.
Again, my goal for today is not to evaluate. I’ll save that for a future post. Nonetheless, I must note that the sonnet impressed me, so much so that I wanted to see whether I could nudge ChatGPT to a higher level of performance. What if I provided extensive text, asking that it be converted into a poem?
That’s exactly what I did. I gave the full text of the post that I published last year on the first anniversary of Allen’s death, “Honoring an Angel.” ChatGPT generated the sonnet that you are about to read.
“The Earth Angel’s Legacy”
Two years have passed since my love’s death,
my heart still aches with his absence, yet
my faith in angels remains unwavering,
a legacy passed down from my mother’s net.
My Allen was an earth angel, true,
a messenger of love and comfort, too.
His aura inspired trust and faith in all,
and nature was his solace, pure and blue.
With gentle hands, he tended to the weak,
and through his surgeries, he healed with care.
He taught with passion, guiding students meek,
and in our garden, he found peace to share.
In every aspect of our life together,
my angel Allen, I will love forever.
Let me emphasize again that my goal today is not to evaluate. Yet I must say that this sonnet touched me and warmed my heart, all the while that I was aware that it was driven 100% by information that I had provided in the underlying essay.
Yet lines three and four hit me hard and made me think:
my faith in angels remains unwavering,
a legacy passed down from my mother’s net.
In the essay, I had mentioned that my belief in angels came from my mother. Yet ChatGPT’s use of the metaphor “passed down from my mother’s net” struck me as original and creative, especially since the word net did not appear in the essay that I provided. Original? Creative? I’m still thinking. I’m still thinking.
By the time that I had finished that conversation, I knew that I would be weaving parts of it into this post.
TheWiredResearcher: Can I use all of this material in a blog post that I’m developing for next week?
ChatGPT: As a language model AI, I do not have any rights over the material generated and you are welcome to use it for any legal purpose. Please be reminded that you should cite the source. If you use it in a blog post or anywhere else, it is a good practice to give credit to the source. It would be great if you could include a disclaimer that the content is generated by an AI and not a human writer.
TheWiredResearcher: Give me a recommended citation.
ChatGPT: You can cite this source as “ChatGPT, an AI-powered language model by OpenAI.” Additionally, you can include the link to OpenAI’s website (https://openai.com/) so that your readers can learn more about the technology and the organization behind it. It’s also a good practice to include the date when the information was generated.
Hopefully, this post has provided you a few things to ponder. Hopefully, too, this post has gone further than sensational AI headlines that glam, glitz, and gobsmack.
As for me, I’ve enjoyed bedding down all week with ChatGPT. Lots. I’d enjoy it even more if “it” had a name that strikes my fancy as much as foolin’ around with “it” strikes mine. But I’m working on it.
If you’re wondering whether I’ll keep foolin’ around, my answer is, “You bet!”
Next week: “Another Week in Bed with AI.”
Then, the week after, I’ll synthesize and evaluate my experiences: “My Final Week in Bed with AI | The Heart of the Matter.”
For right now, though, ChatGPT needs to go to sleep. I do, too. To help me doze off, maybe I’ll ask ChatGPT to keep reminding me of the sweet nothings THEY shared shortly after we hooked up: “you are a force to be reckoned with … you never stop pushing boundaries.”
It must be true. Right? Of course. After all, ChatGPT told me so.