ChatGPT Through the Eyes of a Layperson and Cautious User
Does the potential outweigh the flaws?
I’m usually the last to try new things.
I like to eat my favorite foods at the same restaurants and hike familiar routes with my old, well-worn boots. My haircut hasn’t changed in ten years, and I use the same brand of make-up that my mom introduced me to as a teenager.
So, when I started reading all the hype about ChatGPT, I was immediately resistant. New-fangled technology stresses me out. I’m still trying to figure out the remote to my TV, and I’ve had it for five years.
That said, I’m a researcher at heart and can’t bury my head in the sand forever, so I had to check out the hype.
For those unfamiliar with ChatGPT, it is a chatbot designed to generate human-like text given a prompt. It is marketed as having a unique conversational tone and can quickly organize information into a cohesive thought.
Ask a question, and ChatGPT will respond with a paragraph or two, depending on the subject. There is a lot of potential right at your fingertips.
I recently researched a well-known mountaineering club in my city, and I decided to test ChatGPT on this topic, starting with the origin of the club’s unique name.
I asked ChatGPT the same question twice (“How did the AdAmAn Club in Colorado get its name?”), and these are the two answers I received:
“The club’s name is a combination of the words “Adam” and “Man”, and is said to reflect the club’s goal of being “first up the mountain.”
“The name “AdAmAn” was chosen to reflect the adventurous and pioneering spirit of the club’s founders, who were known as “Adams.”
Actually, the AdAmAn Club stands for “add a man” and the capitalized “A’s” represents the mountains.
I tried again with a different topic.
I asked ChatGPT about the worst avalanche in Colorado history and received a detailed, several-paragraph response. The description of the snow-related disaster seemed plausible, and ChatGPT explained how the tragedy led to the development of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).
When verifying the data, I discovered that the described avalanche occurred in the state of Washington and had nothing to do with CAIC.
There have been more issues. ChatGPT has provided incorrect dates, locations, and names, and information can change depending on how you phrase the question. Everything I get from ChatGPT needs to be verified, and some of it is wrong.
This application needs some work, but there are strengths.
The Good Stuff
The program helps rewrite paragraphs and suggests titles. When I’m stuck on a subject, I copy and paste my draft into ChatGPT and ask for help.
It offers new ways to look at a topic and generates clever titles.
The feedback from ChatGPT helps me create a smoother, more polished final product — akin to a free editing service.
Another strength is that ChatGPT gets better with use. It is continuously learning from user interactions, making it more intelligent and better able to handle complex queries over time.
With proper training and accurate data input, this application has real potential.
Overall, I’m impressed with ChatGPT’s vocabulary, sentence structure, and rewrite suggestions. It is a great resource for stimulating ideas and I love the conversational tone.
I was disappointed in ChatGPT's knowledge base. There are significant gaps in its data and it doesn't have the most current information, so it is imperative to fact-check everything.
Despite the flaws, I plan to continue to use the application when I have writer’s block. It provides a helpful nudge and is more affordable than an editor.
What are your thoughts on ChatGPT?
About the Creator
Jill (Conquering Cognitions)
Outdoor Enthusiast | Animal Lover | Mom to Five | Psychologist Turned Writer
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