Our robot overlords would like [to write] a word
What is all the talk about this new AI tool, and why should you care? Released in late 2022 and now owned by Microsoft (they bought the creator OpenAI), this new technology is a combination of fascinating and terrifying. It offers a powerful tool that, when used effectively, can save you significant time in developing business communications and marketing content. At the same time, as a lover of post-apocalyptic fiction, this is hitting a little close to home—where science fiction morphs into reality. It also raises serious questions about whether and when you should use it, even if you can. (See this recent story from Vanderbilt University for a fresh example.)
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI. It was trained on a massive amount of text data using a deep learning algorithm called Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT), which allows it to understand natural language and generate human-like responses to a wide range of questions and prompts.
ChatGPT was trained on a large body of text data from various sources on the internet, including websites, articles, books, and other documents. The data was preprocessed to remove noise and irrelevant information and was used to train the model to predict the likelihood of a given sequence of words, given the context in which they appear. This training process enables ChatGPT to understand natural language and generate responses that are relevant and appropriate to the input it receives. Additionally, ChatGPT can be fine-tuned to further enhance its performance on specific tasks.
The amazing part: that description above was written almost entirely by ChatGPT. We simply put the following phrases into the chat, “what is chatgpt” and “what data does chatgpt pull from” and out came the two paragraphs you see above. And instead of us spending a half hour researching and writing that portion of this blog post, the AI tool did it in, oh, approximately 4 seconds. That kind of efficiency can be alluring. But, does it make sense for your business?
We’ve tested it out for you; here are our takeaways.
- It’s a bit wordy. ChatGPT tends to over explain and often says the same things multiple times in different ways–far from concise and efficient communication. However, you can pare down the wording by asking the bot to “say it more concisely.”
- It lacks personality. Just the facts, m’am. Note the difference in tone between the subtitle of this piece and the portion written by ChatGPT. And, really, facts are easy to come by these days. Your business communications need to reflect who you are, and that includes infusing your brand and team personality into your messaging.
- It’s a great idea starter. While the lack of personality makes it difficult to use ChatGPT’s suggestions in full, it is an awesome way to get ideas flowing. When writer’s block is really getting in the way, try typing what you need into ChatGPT. You’ll likely find bits of text that you can use as a basis of your copy–but you’ll need to sprinkle some personality in there to make it great.
As with the Vanaderbilt example (link above), there are times (many times) when your communications deserve a personal, heart-felt approach that came from you and not a software program.This is new territory, and it will take some time to establish norms related to appropriate and inappropriate times to use this functionality. Our initial feeling is that it offers an efficient tool to aid and support your communications but should in no way replace the authentic touch that only a member of your team can create. If the task at hand is operational and a just-the-facts approach works, ok. However, when your communications need your voice, it’s best to keep it that way.