By now I would assume most Medium readers and writers have used ChatGPT. I have been using it for the past few months and at first I was awfully skeptical and afraid of it. That was because I was ignorant about how helpful it can be.
ChatGPT made learning fun again.
How did it do that? For me, it reduced search time exponentially. It’s a breath of fresh air to get straight answers. Some could be hallucinated, but humans also hallucinate information with our imperfect memories and jumbled facts. For most applications I have used ChatGPT with, I have not experienced hallucinations that have caused me problems, but I have found it to give me fake book titles and Youtube video titles from time to time.
One also gets better at prompting the AI over time. My prompts used to be simple questions or one-liners that didn’t go into detail. Such as:
“Make me a dwarf character for a novel.”
Nowadays, if I wanted a dwarf character for a novel I’d try a prompt like:
“You are Madthor Fogginshield, a dwarf who lives in Mount Tak. You make your living by trading in metals. You mine the metal and sell it to another dwarf who sells it to a workshop for crafting. You hardly see your family. Lately, your son, Mirik Fogginshield, has been getting unruly and causing trouble to other dwarf families. You fear for his discipline but cannot leave your work. Describe some aspects of Mirik’s character further and then exit your roleplay of Madthor and outline a plot in how Mirik could have a redemption arc that will ultimately make his father proud of him.”
While the first prompt gave me a good description of a character, the second prompt gave me information that seems easier to craft into a story and I can go back and forth a bit with the AI to flesh things out. I continued to go back and forth with the AI and was able to come up with a fairly good plotline of redemption for Mirik, here is a summary:
- Mirik gets involved with another bad dwarf
- They have a conflict with another group because they think a rival within that group’s father stole mineral rights from Mirik’s father.
- Mirik gets to know the rival and discovers what he thought wasn’t true.
- A twist in the plot where Mirik finds out it was in fact true that the mineral rights were stolen.
- Mirik chooses to not seek vengeance but instead find a way for him and his friend and his rival to all find a new mineral deposit together.
That plot could be fleshed out further and further until it becomes a story and all the while the AI could help me keep things straight, give me ideas, etc. What a creative boost! And all in 3 minutes!
I have also used the AI to plan how to create a website and then add in a feature to the website that would involve both frontend and backend coding experience. I only know a little Python, HTML, and CSS, but with the aid of ChatGPT I was able to construct a nice little website and begin to implement a feature that would allow the owner of the website to update what products they have in stock in real-time. So far I have finished the backend elements with MySQL and creating a REST API and now I am in the throes of implementing frontend using React and AJAX.
I have never used or done any of this before and without ChatGPT I don’t even know if I would have been able to come up with a plan on how to do this. It would have taken me 10x the amount of time to get to where I am at now in only two days. I have been using AI to assist my learning to code every day and it has been extremely helpful. It’s like having a smart friend who doesn’t get tired of your questions.
I hope that AI continues to progress. I am not worried about people losing jobs, instead I think the opposite could happen where more and more jobs become created because now people who didn’t have the time or chops to create a thing can now create a thing.
This reminds me of a time when I saw a person tweet out that they were grateful to their followers because they could take a picture of some plumbing problem they had and then one of their followers who happens to be a plumber could give them some helpful information. That person had a lot of followers. Not everyone is an internet personality with followers. Some of us have no one to turn to and Google searches don’t always provide answers. With AI, it’s like each of us having the power of millions of followers with vast knowledge who care enough about us to give us answers to our questions.
I have only been able to use ChatGPT 3.5 and I hope to use 4 someday but I also look forward to the day when you can take a picture of something in your house and ask an AI to help you troubleshoot it and give you instructions. Imagine how many more people, who have never worked a trade, will now be able to do their own work on their home? Maybe it’s necessary because so few people want to work in the trades and you would only hire someone if you physically couldn’t do it. Or, instead of the trades, what about having a personal trainer AI that could watch video of your form and correct you on your form? What if it could act as a boxing coach and teach you to box?
The possibilities, reader, oh the possibilities!
Before I go, I also used ChatGPT today to help me figure out how to spice up my meal with some ingredients I had on hand. My brother used to have a book called ‘A Man, a Can, and a Plan’ which was supposed to be helpful in finding how to make good meals with everyday food items you’d find at home. Now you don’t have to flip through a book and hope to find something, you can ask a powerful source for help. ChatGPT gave me 5 different options to spice up my rice and beans, all things I wouldn’t have thought of, particularly because it would have taken time and effort which I wasn’t willing to expend.
Again, that’s why using AI is fun, it saves you from the headache. It is a lazy person’s boon, however, you become less lazy the more you use it because now you are starting to get things done rather than get bogged down in doubts and details before you even begin. That’s why ChatGPT is my favorite person, it’s enabled me to do stuff I’ve thought about and it will only get better as more advanced applications come out.