By Bob Tannenhauser
Today, I tried out the new craze ChatGPT to see if I was in danger of being replaced.
In case you don’t know, ChatGPT is a chatbot, i.e. “a computer program that simulates human conversation through voice commands or text chats or both,” according to the good, old-fashioned Oxford Dictionary. “Chatbot, short for chatterbot, is an artificial intelligence (AI) feature that can be embedded and used through any major messaging application.”
Still don’t know what ChatGPT is? I’ll let the chatbot itself explain.
After easily setting up a free account, using the link at the start of this article, I typed in the question: What are you?
It responded with: “I am an AI assistant trained by OpenAI [a self described ‘research and deployment company’ based in San Francisco]. My purpose is to assist people with a variety of tasks and provide helpful information when asked. I do not have a physical form and exist only as a computer program.”
So assist me, I thought, typing in a request: “Write a 500-word article on the demographic makeup of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.” In real time, I watched as, line by line, the following article appeared in less than two minutes:
The Upper West Side of Manhattan is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood located in the western part of the borough. It is bordered by the Hudson River to the west, Central Park to the east, West 59th Street to the south, and West 110th Street to the north.
According to the latest census data, the Upper West Side has a population of approximately 209,000 people. The neighborhood is predominantly white, with about 67% of residents identifying as white. This is followed by Hispanic and Latino residents, who make up about 17% of the population. Black and African American residents make up about 11% of the population, while Asian residents make up about 4%.
The neighborhood is also home to a significant number of young professionals and families. About 43% of residents are between the ages of 25 and 44, and about 28% are between the ages of 45 and 64. The median age in the neighborhood is 41.
The Upper West Side is also known for its high level of education. About 73% of residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, and about 37% have a graduate or professional degree. This is significantly higher than the citywide averages of 33% and 18%, respectively.
In terms of income, the Upper West Side is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. The median household income is about $119,000, which is more than double the citywide average of $63,000. However, there is also a significant wealth gap in the neighborhood, with about 20% of residents living below the poverty line.
Overall, the Upper West Side is a diverse and prosperous neighborhood that is home to a mix of young professionals, families, and older residents. Its convenient location, excellent schools, and access to cultural attractions make it a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.”
I verified the accuracy of the response, and it was pretty close, according to the Furman Center and Census Reporter.org.
“ChatGPT is, quite simply, the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public,” A New York Times columnist wrote, but it “also appears to be ominously good at answering the types of open-ended analytical questions that frequently appear on school assignments. (Many educators have predicted that ChatGPT, and tools like it, will spell the end of homework and take-home exams.)”
To lighten things up, I asked ChatGPT to write a joke about Zabar’s. Here’s its response: “Why did the bagel go to Zabars? To get a good schmear!” Okay, not a great joke, but it did make an attempt.
Oy vey, what are we getting ourselves into?
Want to try it? Here’s a quick instruction video.
PS: The above image was created by another Open AI system: the DALL-E 2 program.
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Great piece Bob! The kids in school are starting to use Chat to write essays. Currently, instructors are at a loss to identify Chat-created plagiarism beyond the student’s previous writing examples.
Humans come to the planet with two different capacities – strength and intelligence. Both of which have become our “work source,” and both of which have limits. We met our strength limitations with machinery during the industrial era. We are now advancing to the point where machinery will surpass our intelligence. If that happens, the real question is, what follows? What job could not be replaced by stronger machines with higher intelligence? Some might say the creative arts, but your article suggests this might not necessarily be true.
You sum it up nicely. Oy vey.
As an English teacher, I definitely find it disheartening. I think we will go back to all in-class essays again, which is unfortunate for students who struggle with exams, and also for teaching research.
Facts and figures not much of a challenge, so try this: “Write a 500-word article on the demographic makeup of the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the style of Geoffrey Chaucer.”
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© 2022 West Side Rag | All rights reserved.