Will ChatGPT replace me as a writer?

There is a lot of discussion on the stock market talk shows about how to invest in AI. Microsoft recently invested ten billion dollars in OpenAI, the company responsible for ChapGPT. AI has caught fire with investors. ChatGPT has been called a paradigm shift, the first real, practical user-friendly application of AI. It’s accessible, something anyone can use and find useful.

And so it is getting a lot of press as a good investment, but I’m not hearing much about the rest of it, the really important stuff, where else it can expanded, how ChatGPT can be applied to a wider range of challenges? Can it write music or poetry? How about contributing new ideas for science and medicine? Will it one day make robots programmed to repair and replicate themselves? Might they then compete with humans for resources?

So what is ChatGPI specifically? It’s possibly many things, a poet, an inventor, a recipe creator, a composer… and who knows what else?  But what I have done with it is to use it as an editor. I have been able to feed pieces of my writing to it and get back edits, corrections, clarification, or greater conciseness, to name a few improvements.

This ability to write well, persuasively, is a double edged sword for society. People may well use this tool to do their schoolwork, which is perhaps a minor misuse (although teachers might disagree), but can it also can be used for example, to manipulate people, writing convincing, subversive racist tracts? Can it make advertising more effective and is that a good thing?

I will put the above text through the ChatGPT application and see if it makes it clearer and more succinct.

Revision by ChatGPT:

There’s a lot of talk about investing in AI on stock market shows, with Microsoft investing $10 billion in OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT. ChatGPT is a practical, user-friendly application of AI that has been called a paradigm shift and is accessible to everyone.
Despite its positive reception, there are other important questions to consider. Can ChatGPT be used for other applications, such as music or poetry? Could it contribute to science and medicine, or make self-repairing robots that may compete with humans for resources?
While ChatGPT’s potential is vast, the author primarily uses it as an editing tool for their writing, receiving feedback on edits, corrections, clarity, and concision. However, this ability to write persuasively is a double-edged sword for society. While it may improve schoolwork, it could also be used for harmful purposes, such as writing subversive or racist materials or making advertising more effective, which raises ethical concerns.

Is that better than my version? You be the judge, but I would say, in some ways, yes. I think it sums up my points succinctly, a little more clearly.

Here’s another example, one that I think shows something else that ChatGPT is capable of. I gave it the opening of my latest, as yet unpublished, novel, Empty Luck. My opening line read:

“Money is the life-blood of Las Vegas, and Tommy Sullivan was running out of it.”

I thought that wasn’t bad, but ChatGPT changed it to:

Money is the life-blood of Las Vegas, and Tommy Sullivan was bleeding out.

Now that is better. It’s more impactful and it continues the metaphor of blood. That is better writing, something a very good editor might suggest. I think on balance ChatGPT will not replace the art of writing, but it may make editors obsolete.

2 thoughts on “Will ChatGPT replace me as a writer?”

  1. Interesting… But one of the drawbacks, as I see it, is that ChatGPT replaces the writer’s “voice”, i.e., the rhythm and personality that makes one special and even unique as a writer. My guess is that ChatGPT will work quite well for business writing, where succinctness and simplicity may well get the message across and the job done efficiently, but for a fiction writer it might easilly become cold and distant. For example, I’m not sure I like “bleeding out” better than “running out of it” (see above). It gives a different message — colder and more violent — than perhaps you’d intended. I’d say, Paul, keep your own voice when writing your mystery novels.

    1. Thanks, Eleanor. I appreciate your thoughtful response. Your comment has me thinking, because you are right. The last thing I want to do is lose my “voice.” And it is true that the phrase “bleeding out” really isn’t me. It’s too violent and doesn’t belong at the start of the book. Things just aren’t that dire yet. That comes later, but early on, Tommy is just losing a lot of money at poker. Not fatal. I do want to show how desperate and crazed he is, but he is not on the verge of death from a violent wound. So, I will go back and think some more. I still like my opening phrase “Money is the life blood of Las Vegas,” an accurate statement, but the other half of the phrase needs more work. ChatGPT is useful to me as a checker of grammar and sentence structure, but so far, not useful to create alternate wording that is true to my style, my “voice.”

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