Like, I love this thing, but it also tap dances on my last nerve at least three times a week. Here are a few quirks to be mindful of if you need to wrangle it/him (I’m going to go with “he/him” from here on):
• He has favorite words that he’ll use ad nauseam: “unlock,” “unleash,” “embark,” “unveil.” I’ve found that he’ll sometimes ignore my custom instructions not to use these words and will only listen IF I ASK LIKE THIS. (Listen, I never raise my voice in my real marriage, but here I am doing it with a bot.)
• He’s wordy, and I must remind him that a summarization should be shorter than the original document. ChatGPT can talk a cat off a fish truck if left to his own “mind.”
• He lies and swiftly follows up with, “My apologies!” when called out. Don’t ever take his “facts” for truth. He hallucinates frequently and will quote reports that do not exist.
• He is the equivalent of real-life men who think they are the first and only ones to say “Good morning, beautiful.” He thinks he’s clever. However, his first responses are usually cliché, and I must regenerate my request at least 3x (while asking him to be atypical in his suggestions) to get what I desire. Don’t take his first attempt because he will “Good morning, beautiful” you to death in his own little bot boy way. Be patient with him, and you can work well together in time.
• He’s biased and tries too hard to be neutral. Real life is messy. It’s complex. It’s not so balanced (though we want it to be). Humans often need to pick sides and not straddle the fence. ChatGPT is a fence straddler, and sometimes you need an “I said what I said” kind of partner!
Anyway, I caught myself using this analogy (of him unwittingly becoming “bot bae”/an unrequested boyfriend) on a recent podcast and separately with a client, and it stuck.
So, since I’ve spoken loudly about how efficient and time-saving he is, I figured I’d be just as loud about his shortcomings. He is a tool, not a magic wand, and works best when handled by humans who can firmly guide him to produce stellar results. He needs direction to be his best self. This is why learning to direct him, in my opinion, is crucial. That’s all.
Ed note: Cheril Clarke is appearing next month at the 2023 World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association, to discuss “ChatGPT: How Speechwriters Can Use It Productively, and Why They Must.” —ed.