I’ve been trying out ChatGPT. And I have a lot of thoughts!
Just to start this article, I’ve been using the free version of ChatGPT which I find is more than enough for what I’ve done with it. The only limitation for me on the free version is that it is best used mornings UK time for me, as the day wears on you will often find the servers are overloaded and it won’t be able to get on with your request.
ChatGPT – The Basics
Overall, how is it? For discreet tasks that can be easily stacked and adapted (written out in one or two sentences) it feels a lot like you are watching your robot overlords type out a short paragraph before telling you they are in charge.
(This from someone who didn’t have email until they went to uni, it’s just a bit like something from sci-fi watching it type in real time!)
I can see how it could easily be used as a powerful tool. Certainly the kind of tasks that I’ve asked it to do around my work or work for clients – gather information on a topic, list keywords, generate longer tail keywords, write a summary – are things that would take me longer.
Right now, it’s nothing without oversight. I’ve used it for tasks where I have a fairly good idea of the outcome already so that I know I can fully check what it returns. Which is still a great use, and it shows that it can be something we use alongside our own skills and experience rather than replacing the need for someone to do the task altogether.
I definitely wouldn’t ask it to do something and then copy and paste that and send it directly to anyone I work with, or put it up on a website as finished content. I’ve seen it said elsewhere and completely agree, it is your research assistant in any task, and not your sole writer.
Can it write content?
Also, I’d add, this version is not coming for anyone’s job when it comes to content. It has a clear way of structuring answers and information that you get used to quite quickly. OpenAI have this week announced a tool that can detect whether text is written by AI (which isn’t massively accurate right now). I know this is a concern people have but so far I can do that job for you from a mile off!
If I see an answer that it starts with ‘in this fast-paced modern world’ or some iteration of that one more time I think I’m going to point out to it that it should be updating its writing style!
If you ask it to structure information as a blog it will write you an introduction and a conclusion. Without fail this will be the same sentences, going over the content of the article, but in a way that just says the same thing, quite obviously, all over again.
For research-based content I’ve found it best to do a Q&A with it. I often get it to find FAQs on a subject and then write me a short answer (and I always ask for a short answer) to each question. I can then take this, check it where I need to, and work around that to put together a more in-depth approach.
Sidenote on using AI content and search
As I said already, there are new tools that you can use to put content through and find out if it was written by AI. These are just as new as the tech itself, so I’ve put an entire ‘blog’ that ChatGPT has written into one and it’s come back that most of it was written by a human.
However, one of the things about AI is that its pace of learning is FAST. Like fast in a way that I’m not sure we can comprehend. Soon there will be much more powerful tools like this that can detect AI written content, so as a digital marketer I’m definitely going to er on the side of caution and for many reasons – not just getting caught – I would not use AI written content on a website.
The chat (!) around how online search is going to use AI in the future is also another reason that I wouldn’t do this. There are initial conversations about what search, like Google, will look like with an AI element. In the near future it could be that search involves a search engine writing you the same kind of Q&A content I’ve just described as an answer to a question you’ve asked. It would take that content from multiple sources on the web.
The question then becomes, does that content give you links to the sites where it has pulled the information from? Will search be an answer to your question with sources given – perhaps like a ‘live’ version of what we see as a Wikipedia page at the moment?
If this is the case, then again having AI generated generic content on your site isn’t going to benefit you in the long run. What you need to focus on is whatever the next version of authoritative content is going to look like and in the meantime, continue to position yourself as a source of valuable unique content. And trust me, AI content ain’t that!
CHATGPT – Bringing you the best in bedtime stories
I’m very much *that* parent, so as well as trying this out myself I’ve been showing ChatGPT to my kids and seeing what we can get it to do together to show them how it works and what it can do.
I let my eldest put one of his homework questions about Shakespeare into it and see what it wrote. They read through the text it gave back and stated, well that is all correct. I asked them about how it had been written and they said they thought it was ‘a bit basic’ and that their teachers might be expecting more. We chatted about how I use it – as a research assistant – and they said if it could tell them where it got the information from then that might be useful for homework but otherwise it was opening the door to trouble. My favourite comment was – ‘I’m sure some people would just copy this and hand it in!’
Then we got to the fun part! The eldest asked it to ‘write a fictional story on space chickens and magic stars.’
What I like about the response is that it shows you exactly what this tool is up to. It’s worked out the following things (and far more) to return a story that had us all laughing out loud:
– how a story told in English might traditionally start and end
– the structure of the story, a set up, a short plot, a twist and a happy ending
– what things about chickens are typical that could be used for effect in the story – the planet ‘Cluck-Cluck’ etc. – and what it might be able to add to give a magical element
So, without further ado, here it is:
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a group of space chickens who lived on a small planet called Cluck-Cluck. These space chickens were quite different from the ones you might find on Earth. They had feathers that shone like the stars, and their eggs were filled with magic.
The space chickens spent their days basking in the glow of the sun and chasing after the magic stars that danced through the sky. These magic stars were the source of all their powers, and the space chickens were always on the lookout for them.
One day, a group of mischievous space bunnies came to visit Cluck-Cluck. They had heard about the magic stars and wanted to steal them for themselves. The space chickens were determined to protect their stars, so they hatched a plan to outsmart the bunnies.
The next time the bunnies came to steal the magic stars, the space chickens pretended to hide them in a field of clovers. The bunnies eagerly searched through the clovers, but they couldn’t find a single star.
Just when the bunnies were about to give up, the space chickens revealed that they had been hiding the stars all along – inside their eggs! The bunnies were shocked and dismayed, and they quickly ran back to their own planet, vowing never to mess with the space chickens again.
The space chickens celebrated their victory by having a big feast and sharing their magic stars with all their friends. From that day on, the magic stars shone even brighter, and the space chickens lived happily ever after.
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