ChatGPT writes Advice Column
Unless you have been living under a rock this winter, you have probably read about ChatGPT . If you are more prone to cast stones then you might have gone online to play with the beta release. It’s a highly responsive artificial intelligence (AI) program trained on natural language. When put to task, people can’t tell whether a human articulated the text answers or a machine. In a recent DearSmartphone column, a high-school teacher queried about trying it out in his classroom. DearSmartphone quipped that ChatGPT should try writing this weekly column. Perhaps that was a concealed threat! So, what really happens if you ask ChatGPT to write an advice column?!
Dear Smartphone to ChatGPT (1/14/2023): “What should a column called DearSmartphone talk about?”
(begin ChatGPT) “We’ve come a long way together, haven’t we? Remember the days when we had to flip open our phones to make a call or send a text? Now we can do so much more with just the touch of a button.
You’ve been there for me through all of life’s important moments, from capturing candid photos at family gatherings to helping me navigate through a new city. You’ve also been a constant companion during the more mundane moments of daily life, keeping me connected to the world through social media and news updates.
But with all the convenience and connection you bring, there are also concerns about the impact you have on our lives. Studies have shown that excessive smartphone use can lead to feeling of anxiety and depression, as well as negatively impacting our relationships and ability to focus.
That is why it’s important for us to find a balance with our smartphone use. Setting limits on the amount of time we spend on our phones and being mindful of how we use them can help us make the most of the benefits they provide without letting them take over our lives. “
So here’s to you, dear smartphone. Thank you for all that you do, but let’s make sure that we’re using you in a way that truly enhances our lives. (end ChatGPT)
That ending felt really personal and there isn’t much to add except “amen and well done.” However, DearSmartphone should have been tougher and asked the Chat AI what it defined as “excessive smartphone use.” Instead, the next question posed to the bot asked about topics for future columns. The ideas were spot-on. Unlike most chatbots, ChatGPT remembers previous prompts given to it in the same conversation.
Dear Smartphone to ChatGPT (1/14/23) “What topics should DearSmartphone cover?”
- (begin Chat GPT) The impact of smartphones on social interactions and communication: This topic could explore how smartphones are changing the way we interact with others, both positively and negatively. For example, smartphones can make it easier to stay connected with loved ones, but they can also lead to a decrease in face-to-face communication and an increase in feelings of loneliness.
- The impact of smartphones on privacy and security: This topic could explore the ways in which smartphones are affecting our privacy and security, both as individuals and as a society. With the amount of personal information we store on our smartphones, it’s important to consider the risks and take steps to protect ourselves from cybercrime and data breaches.
- The impact of smartphones on the economy: This topic could explore how smartphones are changing the way we shop, work, and consume media, and the impact this is having on the economy. For example, the rise of e-commerce and the gig economy has been driven in part by the widespread use of smartphones.
- The impact of smartphones on education: This topic could explore how smartphones are affecting education and learning. Smartphones can be a useful tool for students, but excessive use can also be a distraction and negatively impact educational outcomes.
- The impact of smartphones on politics and democracy: This topic could explore how smartphones are affecting the way we consume and share news, and the impact this is having on politics and democracy. For example, the spread of fake news and the erosion of traditional news sources has been driven in part by the widespread use of smartphones.
- The impact of smartphones on the environment: This topic could explore how the production, use, and disposal of smartphones are affecting the environment. For example, smartphones require rare earth minerals, and their disposal can lead to electronic waste.
- The impact of smartphones on public safety: This topic could explore how the use of smartphones can affect public safety, both positively and negatively. For example, smartphones can be used to call for help in emergency situations, but they can also be a distraction while driving.
- The impact of smartphones on addiction: This topic could explore the concept of smartphone addiction, the symptoms, causes, and ways. (End ChatGPT)
In the months ahead you’ll see the DearSmartphone, the column, continue to tackle these eight topics and more. None of them are new. But it will take considerable acumen to stay one step ahead and provide insights that are meaningful in a 600 to 800 word space. ChatGPT is currently trained on texts through September, 2021 so us humans have a 16 month advantage. But as ChatGPT gets caught up, those producing the source information need to work even harder and seek new insights. Everything changes, and improves.