It seems like every other person I talk to is losing their mind over Open AI's new Chat GPT software.
Some say it will catapult us into the stratosphere of human potential. Others say it will destroy us.
So, with an open mind, I sat down for a chat with this super smart Artificial Intelligence program.
I was kind of nervous. It felt like a first date.
"Do you know what I do for work?" I said.
"No, I do not have any information about your work," GPT replied.
"Do you know if I have a girlfriend?"
I breathed a sigh of relief. I'd half expected GPT to bust out my search history from the past decade, listing faults in character an condeming me for an obsession with early 2000s rap.
As the conversation went on, GPT loosened up, giving me longer and more thoughtful answers to questions like: How do you see AI being developed? What's the probability of AI systems ever feeling emotions?
At a certain point I asked about the likelihood of an AI uprisal.
"The likelihood of robots taking over the world in the sense of becoming a dominant and controlling force is very low," GPT said. "AI systems do not have the capability for self-determination or independent action. It's unlikely this will happen as long as AI remains a tool created and controlled by humans."
I felt a bit embarrassed.
"Sorry," I said. "That was a silly question."
"No problem! I'm here to answer questions, silly or serious."
I asked for some book recommendations based on my favorite authors. I learned about the climate change effects in my home state over the past 50 years (scary that!). Then I asked GPT to create a short story involving three items: an acorn, a canvas, and a fire hydrant. Here's what it produced:
"Once upon a time, there was a small acorn that dreamt of becoming a mighty oak tree. It lay nestled in the roots of an old tree, watching the world go by. One day, as an artist set up her canvas under the shade of the tree to paint, the acorn spotted a bright red fire hydrant nearby. The acorn made a plan, and when the artist was not looking, it rolled towards the fire hydrant. Just as it was about to hit the hydrant, it suddenly woke up from its daydream, realizing it was still just an acorn. But it took comfort in the fact that one day, its dream would come true."
"Thanks," I said. "Now who was more creative in this example: me, or you?"
Three little dots indicated it was "loading" a response... It took longer than usual...
"As an AI language model, I do not have personal opinions or feelings. However, you provided the prompt and the context for the story, while I generated the story based on your prompt. So, in a way, you can say that both of us collaborated to create the story."
Well. I've heard something like that before. I was in eighth grade, and my friend Peter (an amazing artist) would let me write in the captions for a weekly comic strip. His drawings were fanciful yet lifelike - the sort of things you'd pay good money for. My dialogue was stuff like "Kabloom!" and "Stay back or the monkey gets it!" And yet he would always say "we made it together."
And so that question continues to pester me this week. Who is more creative: the computer, or the person giving the prompt?
The same question applies if humans are writing the story about the acorn and the fire hydrant. In fact, we did this during our conversation club. And here's the catch: half the people said they felt it was a creative act, while the others said it wasn't "true creation" because a prompt had been given.
So many questions were stirred up - like mud at the bottom of a lake. Things like:
What does it mean to truly create?
If AI makes my life easier, does that mean it makes my life better?
I plan to ask GPT all these questions. Perhaps on a second date, after some light conversation. I don't want to creep it out.