A computer didn’t write this. I, Nikki Courtney, a radio news reporter at KTRH, a real human being, wrote this, but you never know lately: ChatGPT is writing a lot these days. I, an old fuddy-duddy, was not aware of the extent artificial intelligence has overtaken our conversations and threatens jobs.
Maybe you never heard of ChatGPT because the software was just introduced in November and only had a million users its first month: now it has one-hundred million. ChatGPT is a generative AI chatbot created by Open AI that mimics conversations: a search engine on steroids that writes complete sentences in a very conversation style, like me, but can also compose a symphony, illustrate a book, what Wikipedia identifies as a “chat generative pre-trained transformer.” Lawmakers are still figuring it out, too.
Two of Houston’s most influential communications specialists are among those already familiar with a new way of engaging that takes the effort out, especially useful in marketing pieces and consumer engagement. Google and Bing are developing their own versions of large language modeling software.
“The prompts that you put into ChatGPT are going to give you what comes out, so you have to have really great prompts to put in to get stuff come out that’s actually usable and good,” says Kami Watson Huyse, CEO of Zoetica.
An example listed in Wikipedia asks about Christopher Columbus arriving in 2015, and ChatGPT responded with an acknowledgement that the explorer crossed the ocean in 1492, then posing a hypothesis of what he might find if Columbus did arrive in 2015. The software “scrapes” enormous amounts of content from the internet, sorts it, and crafts it into a conversational answer that no human ever wrote or touched or researched. Drawing it’s wisdom from the internet, it’s not a reliable source of factual information.
“They generate content based on word patterning and what they found online, and when they don’t have a particular answer, they fill in the gap with something that sounds good,” says Crystal Washington, a futurist and communications technology strategist who consults with major companies.
Some are aghast watching the advent of ChatGPT provide work product that had required people, thus eliminating the need for people, thereby eliminating many jobs. News reporters. Why pay someone to talk to knowledgeable sources to gain insight and write up the findings if software can survey everything ever posted on the web, assimilate it and spit it out in very conversational, engaging language? Because human interaction requires humans on both sides of the equation. Fallible, I’m human.
It's free now. You can jump on ChatGPT and take it for a test drive at no expense. A monthly access fee will come down the pike.
photo: Getty Images