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How I Started Rethinking the Usefulness of ChatGPT and AI in Writing

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I would hate to think that my fellow marketers and communicators, among many others, are thinking about relying on this AI to create content.

From my February 22, 2023 post

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience with ChatGPT, the generative artificial intelligence (AI) based chatbot launched by OpenAI in November of 2022. If you’re on LinkedIn, I’m sure you’ve seen the numerous posts and articles written by various experts in marketing, recruiting, search, and software, including Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, Neil Patel and many others who discuss the potential disruption and multiple use cases for chat-based AI. All people who are much smarter than I am.

That’s why I decided that perhaps I should step away from my admittedly biased and more academic commitment to creative writing – writing without the support of a chatbot – and give it a chance. Essentially, Nick, get off your soapbox.

That’s what I did, and I think I found a way to use these tools without relying on them to write the true meat of the content.

For a week, I decided to work with the AI program on various projects, from creating content to research, writing letters, and more – and I think I found the sweet spot for these tools.

I say tools because I believe that is what these are. Tools. Tools in the same way that Word, Grammarly, or even Google are. I can see these AI bots becoming tools that can be used for good to help in various writing tasks – though I can also see how they can easily be wielded for more nefarious reasons, as well. I’m not going to go into that right now, though.

So what did I find in using ChatGPT (I even tried Bing’s new one, too)? I found an opportunity.

The other day, I was trying to write multiple articles somewhat, but only somewhat, related to each other in theme, style, and content. I know the baseline and the focal points I wanted to write about, but I was blocked. Between planning another trip to Seattle, dealing with a needy dog, researching the new technology and searching for my next job opportunity, my head wasn’t able to take all these points and put them into sentences.

I was reminded about the time between the birth of my daughter and about her third or fourth month – one of my absolute favorite periods filled with memories of swapping 3-6 hours of sleeping with her on my chest on the sofa with 3-6 hours of sleeping on my own in the bed. However, it was also during this time that I remember developing “papa-brain” – a state in which remembering simple words like “has,” “did,” and “food” can be mentally taxing.

That’s how I felt, and that’s when I decided to see whether ChatGPT or Bing’s AI could help.

And they did.

No, they didn’t write my content for me. I didn’t let them. Though they could have.

I found that I could use them to help break down the walls of my being unable to put my thoughts together by throwing questions and alternatives in my direction. Although Bing’s AI is more “chatty” and certainly has more personality, ChatGPT proved more expansive in its language with longer articles, bullets, references and considerations. I found that the thoughts and suggestions it was providing caused me to rethink certain ideas that were holding me back, thus creating room for my own language to move my ideas to the printed (digital) word.

Although I’m not ready to retract my earlier thoughts about generative AI and its potential for “evil,” I have been turned into a little more of an advocate. With proper boundaries, both in the technology and within the human interacting with it, I can see the potential for idea creation, thought expansion, research, and its ability to help writers like me get past the writing walls we all hit from time to time.

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