The buzz has been going for about 2 months now since the latest release of ChatGPT in November 2022. I have been getting a lot of questions about it and I have had a couple months to review it and learn more about it. Here’s my thoughts on the writing aspect of OpenAI. (See my other articles on OpenAI for coding/web design and photos).
Chat GPT is not completely new, it’s just better. As an Editor, I have been watching our content get spun by bots and non-bots for years. Typically, the spun article is not better and google is usually wise to it so the ranking is not as good as ours. Though over the years with SEO software and content checkers, it has gotten better. Open AI technology is literally simply taking content from millions of websites and re-spinning it in a more sophisticated, yet generic, way. And of course, it has the added technology of intelligent conversation.
Will it take over writing jobs?
No, if you are a great writer. Yes and No, if you are so-so.
I have worked with 100’s of writers, had 1,000’s of pieces of content submitted for consideration, and I can tell you, ChatGPT writes better than, in my experience, 75% of them. Writers who write just for SEO, or generically, and writers who struggle with grammar, style and ideas, can be replaced. Writers who write with a passion and creatively, can not.
Now that being said, when I say replaced, what I mean is repositioned. The generic and technical style writers will still be able to find jobs and work if they can learn this technology and use it to their advantage. It’s actually a really great tool for these writers to help them improve their writing and produce better content! And jobs for these writers will always be needed. ChatGPT can only write as good as the information it is being asked and the data it was given, so learning to use it is crucial for future employment.
Learning to use the technology by asking the right questions and getting it to write good ideas and good content for you will be a crucial skill in the future. Learning how to take the OpenAI content and verify the facts, re-write some parts of it, and create longer content from the answers, will be a great skill to have for content writers.
For creative writers, ChatGPT is awesome when you get writer’s block! If you get stuck on an idea or concept, start a conversation with ChatCPT. Again, what you ask it is crucial to get the kind of responses you require to get unstuck. So be creative in the asking and have fun with the responses! It can help you clear your head, gain some ideas and insight, and get unstuck and back to writing.
Currently I see ChatGPT as a tool, not a replacement for writers.
What about the Creative writing aspect of ChatGPT?
One of the things that people are buzzing about with ChatGPT is its storytelling ability. You can ask ChatGPT to create a story based on a scenario or characters. Really fun to do, by the way, if you have the time to play. Think of a crazy scenario and ask it to write it and it will create a story. For example, my son asked it to write a scene about 2 people at a circus who got into a fight. And it wrote an interesting short scene that was quite comical and fun! As a creative and technical writer, I read it and immediately looked at things I would like to add, remove, re-write and change. And yes, you can ask ChatGPT to do that with descent results. Would I use that to write a book or a story? Maybe to help with parts where I am stuck. Same as I would use any other tool or resource. We all get ideas from the world in various ways. ChatGPT is just another way.
So instead of rejecting this technology as a writer, I am embracing it. I enjoy the ideas, the suggestions, the answers to topics I am researching. Honestly, most of it is dreadfully dull and generic to me, but I enjoy challenging it! I do tend to ask it a lot of questions about itself and philosophical questions. It typically either doesn’t have an answer or provides a generic response. But it will get smarter.
I personally find that google still provides better results for research because it connects you with the website to verify facts. ChatGPT does not do that. It’s kind of like your dad who acts like he knows everything and has all the answers, even if they are not all based on fact, but just stuff he learned and heard in his life. Then you get older and you realize your dad was not always right. Think of ChatCPT that way. It is gathering data from the web. Some of it is true, some of it is not. Maybe it should be renamed to AskDad! In fact, I’m going to message them and suggest it!
My concerns about OpenAI Technology
#1 – The Datasets
When you ask ChatGPT where it gets its data, here is the answer:
As a language model, I was trained on a large dataset of text from the internet, books, and other sources. This dataset includes a wide variety of information on a wide range of topics, and I use it to learn about language and how to generate responses to questions and prompts. I do not have the ability to browse the internet or access new information, so my knowledge is limited to what I learned during my training.
OpenAI does not reveal the actual sources of content and where it is getting the information and knowledge. If that doesn’t worry you about big corps controlling the data, I don’t think you fully understand the future of this tech. We are literally headed for a dystopian future where all the information is manipulated by big money.
Stealing Content for Profit
The billionaire leaders are basically taking others content for free and turning it around and charging people to get that information through their technology.
Tweet by Sam Altman
soon you will be able to have helpful assistants that talk to you, answer questions, and give advice. later you can have something that goes off and does tasks for you. eventually you can have something that goes off and discovers new knowledge for you.
Even Elon Musk is concerned with the taking of content for free from places like his newly purchased Twitter.
#2 – The Leaders
When billionaires are in control of inputting the data, that people will be taking as fact, to the world, there is a potential for propaganda that pull in millions of people into believing un-truths for corporate and political benefits. This is already happening online and as we move to a technology that will control all the online data in an easy to use interface, it can be manipulated.
If it was a free technology that was not being profitted on by billionaires, I’d feel much better about it. It is a corporate billionaires dream! Gather all the content in the world, mix it with this new tech, and use it for your own gain.
Moving into the Future
This relatively new tech can be a writers best friend or biggest enemy. And I think that sentiment ricochets to the world. How we move forward with this technology, the politicians we put in charge of regulations, and the policies we put in place to assure it is not intentionally manipulating the public for political or financial gain, is going to dictate how this affects future generations.