OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing chatbot, Google’s Bard—there’s an arms race going on in the artificial intelligence (AI) world, and I’m beginning to see why. These tools pack power.
A while ago, I tried an AI tool called Rytr to create a blog post about how to write and publish a novel. The results were informative but obvious, a little dull, and a bit repetitive. Since then, I’ve been toying with ChatGPT, which you can use for free, and I’m starting to believe these AI tools are going to transform the way we write, learn, and work.
Don’t just take it from me. Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote that developing AI is “as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the internet, and the mobile phone.” Each of those technological advances has significantly changed the way we live our lives.
I’ve discovered that AI chatbots are as good as the input given to them. If you write a good prompt (which in itself is a writing skill that must be developed and honed), state your purpose and goals, and provide a working title, you’ll get back a remarkably solid first draft in a matter of seconds. As with any first draft, you have to trim here, expand there, and edit everywhere.
I experimented with ChatGPT in a couple of ways. As a prompt, I described Robert Besch, the main character from my upcoming novel, In Flight, and the mental crisis he faces after surviving a plane crash. I asked ChatGPT to write a story about it. The story came back at about 500 words and it hit all the key points I’d included in the prompt and even took the story in a direction I hadn’t considered. That made me realize AI can be a great tool for brainstorming ideas. But the writing style and voice were flat, and the sentences lacked rhythm. I might even describe the tone as machine-like. Novelists fear not. At least not yet.
I’ve also been researching the difference between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. I gave ChatGPT this prompt: Explain the difference between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage and why I should choose one over the other.
Traditional Medicare is a federal government-run health insurance program for people who are 65 years or older, as well as people with certain disabilities and end-stage renal disease. It has two parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and home health care. Part B covers doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
On the other hand, Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) is a type of Medicare plan offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. It includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B, but may also include additional benefits such as vision, hearing, dental, and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans often have networks of providers and may require referrals to see specialists.
There are pros and cons to each option, and the choice ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:
Cost: Traditional Medicare typically has lower monthly premiums than Medicare Advantage plans, but you may have to pay more out-of-pocket for services. Medicare Advantage plans may have lower out-of-pocket costs, but higher monthly premiums.
Coverage: Traditional Medicare provides coverage for a broad range of medical services, but may not cover certain benefits such as prescription drugs, hearing aids, or dental care. Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits not covered by traditional Medicare, but may have more limited provider networks.
Flexibility: Traditional Medicare allows you to see any provider who accepts Medicare, without requiring referrals. Medicare Advantage plans may require you to use providers within their network, and may require referrals to see specialists.
Overall, it's important to evaluate your healthcare needs and budget to determine which option is right for you. You may also want to consider speaking with a licensed insurance agent or a Medicare counselor to help you make an informed decision.
This explanation didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know from my own research and knowledge, but the concise answer offers a good and accurate starting point for someone who is new to the subject.
The Culture Wars
I had ChatGPT wade into the culture wars.
Prompt: Explain the concept of “woke” and why it is so divisive and polarizing in American society today.
The term "woke" originated in African American Vernacular English as a term for being aware of social and political issues, particularly those related to racial inequality and social justice. In recent years, the term has been adopted more broadly to describe a state of heightened awareness and sensitivity to issues of social injustice, particularly those related to race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of oppression.
The concept of "woke" has become divisive and polarizing in American society because it is often associated with a particular set of political and social beliefs. Some people view "woke" culture as a positive force that promotes social justice and equality, while others see it as a threat to traditional values and a form of political correctness that stifles free speech and undermines individual rights.
Critics of "woke" culture argue that it creates a culture of victimhood and identity politics, where people are defined solely by their group identity and are encouraged to view themselves as victims of systemic oppression. They also argue that "woke" culture often leads to censorship and intolerance towards those who hold different opinions, as it prioritizes political correctness over open and honest discourse.
Supporters of "woke" culture, on the other hand, argue that it is a necessary response to systemic injustices and inequalities that have persisted in American society for centuries. They argue that "woke" culture promotes empathy, understanding, and inclusivity, and helps to raise awareness about issues that have been historically overlooked or ignored.
Overall, the concept of "woke" is a complex and multifaceted issue that reflects broader divisions in American society around issues of race, identity, and politics. While some view it as a positive force for social change, others view it as a threat to individual liberties and traditional values, leading to ongoing debates and controversies.
It’s not a bad primer on woke, but I’m struggling with the presented idea of woke as undermining individual rights and threatening individual liberties. It might be the other way around too, with critics of woke being the ones threatening individual rights. I then went on to prompt it:
Explain why Ron DeSantis says that Florida is where “woke goes to die.”
Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has used the phrase "woke goes to die" to describe his state's approach to politics and culture. He believes that Florida is a place where traditional values and individual freedoms are celebrated, and where progressive ideas around identity politics and cancel culture are not tolerated.
There’s that individual stuff again. The chatbot answer continued for several more paragraphs, but I stopped reading. Either DeSantis or AI chatbots or both will soon enough be controlling most of our thoughts and shaping our beliefs and behaviors in Dystopian America. That’s the dark side. On a brighter note, if you’re on a tight deadline this week and need a blog post written about “the difference between a fixed mindset or a growth mindset” or “what all this mindfulness stuff is about” ChatGPT might be a good place to generate ideas and rough drafts.