Are you sick of hearing about it yet? Chat GPT, Open AI, AI – whatever you want to call it, it’s almost as prevalent as inflation is in the news today. The truth is, there’s so much discussion around AI that it’s becoming a desensitized topic. From whether to ban it in classrooms, to robots taking over as the new real estate brokers, there’s a lot of speculation on what industry is being taken over next.
Will Chat GPT, ruin our brains and steal our jobs? Maybe. The other hard truth is that this is an incredibly powerful and unrealized (by many) jump in technology. We’re on the cusp of something. What that thing is, it’s still too early to tell. But, here’s what I’ve learned so far about Chat GPT in particular and how I have used and continue to use it in my daily work routine.
Routine is the operative word. Chat GPT takes the mundane out of routine work.
Writing content for one specific genre day in and day out, for years on end takes a toll. It heavily taxes your creativity, and it can be a struggle to come up with new ways to sell the same flavour of pies every day. And that’s insight coming from someone who has been steadily writing content and selling pies since they can remember. Similar to a manufacturing job where you’re putting nuts on bolts day in and day out, writing about one specific topic for clients each month loses its brain-stimulating luster over time.
Enter Chat GPT.
At first, I was not only skeptical of Chat GPT and what it promised, but I was also a harsh, outspoken critic of it. I hated the idea of Chat GPT. I didn’t agree with commentary, that it could create content better than a human could. So, I immediately judged it as redundant, dumb, non-factual, biased, and a fad. Without ever even giving it a try. After all, why would you try it if you knew you didn’t need it?
The conversation was between me, my husband, a 25-year experienced programmer, and my daughter, a second-year university, media studies and computer science student at the time. She was writing a paper on Chat GPT, and we were chiming in as parents who also had a vested interest in the topic because our livelihoods were said to be somewhat at stake.
The debate was heated more than our dinner that night. Me taking the stance above, my husband sharing calm facts about Open AI and what he has been waiting for, and my daughter, who had all the recent data and facts to back up his points. My husband was a little too giddy and matter of fact, which made me even more ‘passionate’ about my feelings on the matter. He pragmatically stated that AI should be looked at as an efficiency tool. We didn’t villanize the spreadsheet when it was released in 1979 on the Apple II?
The debate eventually turned into dinner being ready. But it was never the end of the conversation. There were many more conversations, and papers to be discussed as the year wore on.
Chat GPT and Grade 9 Social Studies.
As much as I hoped it would die with the next news cycle, talk of Open AI and machine learning only got more fervent. My daughter was writing even more about it in university, and my son, a student in grade 9, was seeing his classmates start to use it for classwork. That’s when I really started to take note. Because if anyone wants to spot the next big trend, then you know it starts in middle school. Middle school kids or Tweens are almost always responsible for defining what’s next for culture. I had no choice now but to stare Chat GPT in the face and see what was really going on.
My son’s Grade 9 Social Studies teacher explained to the class at the start of the year that there would be no leniency on plagiarism in her class. Anyone caught copying content verbatim from Google or anywhere else would receive a big fat 0 on their work. Nothing new or revolutionary about that point being made in an educational setting. Perhaps what makes it noteworthy is that she also added a caveat that using AI or Chat GPT as the students were familiar with would also result in the same zero grade.
Time for a rude awakening.
She meant business, and she claimed that she had a way to check. It turns out that her brother was at the forefront of developing Open AI and is a professor at a leading Canadian university. When it came time for final grades she assigned 0’s across the board to every student but ten or so. She also attached a note with a time slot to meet with parents so she could explain the change in grades. Many students saw their 90’s turn to 0’s, and parents wanted to know why.
My son already knew my position on AI would land him in hot water if it ever came to light that he wasn’t exercising his brain without the aid of the Internet, so he was safe from a nil grade. My feeling is that most parents wouldn’t know what Chat GPT was, to begin with, let alone that their kids were using it to pass Socials 9. I’m sure they got a crash course on it before summer break began.
So, when did I start using?
It sounds like a dirty thing. When did you first use Chat GPT? What was it for? Maybe, for some of us, it still is. I’ve been watching documentaries on addiction lately.
The first time I used Chat GPT was playing around with my daughter on her laptop. We asked it basic questions, and then she showed me how she used it to research a paper on itself, essentially. I didn’t think much of it, just that it seemed a lot like an improved search engine.
Look at you, all efficient and stuff.
Then I noticed that my daughter had the Chat GPT tab open more often than not when she was working this summer. I knew that she was writing more because she was helping to take over some of my workload, so I started reading some of the articles she had recently posted. My daughter is an accomplished writer well beyond her years. She’s been producing content almost daily since the 11th grade and has multiple honours in English to support her.
The articles I read were polished. They had a fine point on them. There was no room to improve or expand they were just – done, for lack of a better word. That’s when I knew she was using Chat GPT to help churn out the endless content that had fallen in her lap. Was she editing the articles? Yes, she was definitely overseeing the content that was generated by the machine. She was responsible for the topic, and for guiding the AI to create a base for what she needed. From there, she optimized the content for marketing purposes and ultimately crafted the content that she would post.
Is using Chat GPT cheating when using AI for content creation?
If you consider that it’s taken me an afternoon to write this article then you can begin to see where the lure of Chat GPT comes into play. It’s a time saver. First and foremost this is the most significant benefit that I can take away from using AI to create content. I know how to write, and I don’t struggle with concepts, or coming up with questions that need answering. I find research on most topics interesting and I don’t need to lay out a framework for writing articles. Words come easy to me and developing an introduction, body, and conclusion are second nature.
Like any working parent, I have a busy schedule, as such, I try to maximize my efficiency so that I can have a spare moment. We’re also business owners and the name of the game in business is to bill as much as you can in the shortest amount of time for quality work. You see where I’m going with this, right?
Help me sound friendly?
I first used Chat GPT to answer a question about a lease agreement in July this year. In August, I used Chat GPT four times. Mostly to edit my tone in a few emails I was sending, because I have the tendency to come across as argumentative when I know I’m right. I wanted to see if AI could make me less bitchy and more persuasive and friendly. To my surprise, it did, and the results were well received on the recipient’s end. I took this as a win and this may indeed have been my turning point with Chat GPT.
This month, my daughter started her third year of university. As a result, my workload of content creation got dumped back in my lap. Last week, I used Chat GPT seven times. All queries were work-related and helped me produce content for customers. I used my own prompts and bullet points and in every case, the first draft returned in the results was pretty close to perfect.
I lack time in my job – in my life. Writing an article from scratch takes more time than one imagines. Editing, formatting, proofreading, rearranging, and re-reading until you’re so sick of what you’ve written you just want to start over. This is the daily plight and Chat GPT takes away that pain point. It gives you time because it gives you results in seconds. When fed the correct information, it is a major asset, especially in the area of content creation.
Feelings of guilt don’t outweigh the clarity of efficiency.
I spent the weekend thinking a lot about Chat GPT and how I felt about using it. Was I happy with the results? 100%. The articles were succinct, easy to read, and allowed me spare time to engage with my customers on more important topics. Was I feeling guilty that the words didn’t flow directly from my brain? 100%. I felt like I was shortchanging myself and that ultimately I was writing my own pink slip.
That feeling still hasn’t left. However, when I take a step back I can see with more clarity. What I see is that writing and producing content is only a small part of what I do for a customer each month. For one, there’s my experience in the industry and the content has to start from something, an idea, a concept, or a current event. Then it needs to be edited, optimized, and posted. And finally, it needs to be shared across the right mediums.
Life is an experiment, especially when you’ve spent your life working in tech.
I’m planning to continue my use of AI to assist in content creation. It saves me an immense amount of time and quite frankly the content is no better or worse than what I would write on my own. I’m getting more excited at the prospect of what I can do with more time to spend on my customer’s accounts. Imagine if you could get rid of the most mundane part of your job and offload it to a partner who produces consistent results for you in a fraction of the time. That’s Chat GPT.
Too much opioid use can cause your brain to rely on the artificial endorphins that are created. Once your brain does this, it can even stop producing its own endorphins. That’s my worry about my Chat GPT experience. Will I regret it in the future? Will I become addicted to allowing AI to manage my time more efficiently? Time will tell and I’ll be sure to keep you updated.