I have written posts for this blog about use of ChatGPT by both public and private school teachers and students (see here, here and here). I will continue to do so since this computer program introduced late last year has not only generated a storm of attention but also raised serious questions about its positive and negative worth for both K-12 teachers and university professors, especially when it comes to “cheating.”
It is much too early to evaluate the chatbot’s impact on classroom practices but it is important to record responses from early users since it is, as pundits say, a game-changer. But no one knows exactly what game it will change and the dimensions of those changes. So I offer here a post from a professional writer who describes her experiences with the popular chatbot.
True confession: I haven’t written in my blog for almost a year (after writing regularly for 13 years). Cue the shame, sadness, and other emotions. There are several reasons why I put the brakes on–but I found a way to get back to writing: ChatGPT.
I know, I’m not the first or last to get on the ChatGPT train, but felt compelled to see how this little AI show-off performs: how it would frame up my situation with very little information, and also assess if I had serious competition (see my analysis after).
Prompt to ChatGPT: Write a 300-word blog post about why I stopped writing in my business blog for almost a year after 13 years
After writing in my business blog for 13 years, I suddenly stopped posting new content for almost a year. I know many of my followers have been wondering why, so I want to take a moment to explain what happened.
To start, I was facing a growing sense of burnout. Writing blog posts had become a chore, and I found it difficult to come up with new ideas that I was passionate about. I felt like I was repeating myself and wasn’t making the impact I had been hoping for. This led me to take a step back and evaluate what I wanted to achieve with my blog.
At the same time, my business was undergoing some major changes. I was pivoting my focus from one area to another, and I found that my blog was no longer aligning with my new goals and direction. I didn’t want to just keep posting content for the sake of it, I wanted to make sure that my blog was helping me achieve my goals and support my business in a meaningful way.
Additionally, I was facing some personal challenges that made it difficult for me to focus on writing. I won’t go into the details here, but let’s just say that it was a challenging time in my life.
So, I made the decision to take a break from writing in my blog. I needed to recharge and refocus, and I wanted to take the time to think about what I wanted my blog to be in the future.
Now, almost a year later, I’m ready to start writing again. I’ve taken the time to reflect and have a clearer vision for my blog and what I want to achieve with it. I’m excited to share new content and connect with my followers once again.
In conclusion, taking a break from my blog was the best decision I could have made. It allowed me to step back and evaluate my priorities, and gave me the time and space to refocus and reignite my passion for writing. I’m grateful for your patience and understanding, and I look forward to sharing new content with you soon.
Thoughts and feelings:
First thought: Wow! Overall, I was impressed with how fully it can compose content on a topic in a semi-conversational way. It’s got a mind of its own (even though it’s actually just machine learning and web results on steroids).
Here’s where I think ChatGPT succeeds and fails:
- I was astounded at the speed at which the words filled up the browser window (if only mere mortals could think and type that fast!) After all, it’s finding “blog absence apology tour” content at a mind-blowing pace.
- I provided very little background information in the prompt, so to fill up 300 words, ChatGPT made up the reasons I didn’t write for almost a year. And while they were surprisingly believable, they weren’t true.
- The writing style, while sounding human-ish, has a detectable generic, superficial level. Some examples: “I found that my blog was no longer aligning with my new goals and direction.” But it never explains what those goals or direction are. Or “In conclusion, …” No one writes like that (save for high school essays). Lastly, it doesn’t explain what the personal reasons were that I bailed on the blog. Is that because it couldn’t find results? Or was the word count coming to a close?
- But the biggest failure for me was that it didn’t sound even remotely like MY writing. Rather, it has the personality of a…ChatGPT. I don’t feel threatened by it as a writer. It can get the juices flowing, but requires a lot more work to get up to professional and personal writing standards of a living, breathing being: the nuances of language and thinking on a page that give it, dare I say, that human fingerprint.
All that said, thank you, I’m grateful to trusty ChatGPT for serving as my excuse to get back to my blog, and even better, doing the dirty work.
Why did I ditch my blog for 11 months? A combination of writer’s block, being busy, and other assorted reasons, which to quote ChatGPT, “I won’t go into details here.” 😉. So yeah, technology got me over the hump, but now it’s up to this human to continue the writing.
See you next month.
2 responses to “ChatGPT Says Sorry Like No Human Could (Janice Cuban)”
I believe this to be true: ” It can get the juices flowing, but requires a lot more work to get up to professional and personal writing standards of a living, breathing being: the nuances of language and thinking … that human fingerprint.” what worries me is that it is mediocre and will be come the “student’s standard” like common-ness of core. Then we will be faced with Aristotelian scholasticism that was so long the standard of colleges in the medieval ages.. (people repeating and echoging what they believe to be erudite language I guess) and it will block the true human thoughts in writing that evidence true innovation or creativity .
Thanks for the comment, Jean. Time will tell on the influence of this is other chatbots.