Illustration by macrovector/DepositPhotos

BitDepth#1388 for January 09, 2022

Technology developments sometimes actually do displace older technologies.
Pagemaker destroyed the profession of paste-up artists and Photoshop shuttered darkrooms, but what really changes is the market potential of the older tech.

More notably, new technology increases the number of people who can deliver results that look professional and the bar for acceptable work gets quietly, but unforgivingly raised.

With artificial intelligence (AI) invading text creation and synthesising art, creators are right to be concerned about what happens next.

New text generation technologies are being used to create basic reporting for online journalism and the sophistication of Open AI’s ChatGPT chatbot has caused a stir recently.

So I went to the source and asked ChatGPT about the role of professional writers when AI can handle basic writing tasks.

According to the chatbot, “Artificial intelligence (AI) has the ability to generate text that is coherent and readable, but it does not have the same level of understanding and creativity as a human writer.”

“Professional writers bring their own unique perspective, knowledge, and understanding to their writing, which allows them to create content that is more nuanced, complex, and engaging.”

“They also have the ability to research and fact-check their writing to ensure that it is accurate and reliable. In addition, professional writers are skilled at crafting their writing to meet the needs and expectations of their audience, which is an important part of the writing process.”

“While AI may be able to assist with certain tasks, it is unlikely to fully replace the role of the professional writer in the near future.”

Open AI’s ChatGPT web interface

Which is exactly what a chatbot should tell you while it’s busy taking your job.
Most professional writing is grunt work, the equivalent of breaking big rocks into smaller rocks.

By its own admission, Chat GPT is quite good at that.

Asked about the role of AI text generation, Chat GPT responded that: “AI text generation can be useful for tasks that require large amounts of repetitive or simple writing, as it can save time and reduce the need for human labor.”
The chatbot acknowledged that it is good for writing simple news articles, social media posts, marketing copy, creating exercises and content for language learning and rather recursively, creating responses for chatbots.

When I asked the chatbot to format a long interview into reported text, the results were disturbingly usable with only a few minor errors.

While researching AI image generation for last week’s column, I browsed the stream of requests in the newbie_21 channel that I’d joined.

Along with the selfies awaiting avatar fantasy treatment were requests for web page designs, art pieces that seemed suspiciously like briefs for actual projects and iterative efforts at using the AI database to create and refine logos.

In a perfect world, this sort of research would use Pinterest and Google searches for inspiration, but many of these generated artworks were apparently being refined for possible use.

In this conversation with VOX, artists discuss the impact of AI powered art.

“You can either rail and rant and say that the hand-held drill is making people skilled at using manual crank drills obsolete or learn to use the new drill to create things,” said Ian Reid, art director of Reid Designs in an interview about his use of AI image generation tools.

“I think in five years, sites like Fiverr and Upwork will find themselves in a very precarious position because new sites like Canva and the like will replace them since all you have to do is say: Build me ten 512 x 512 [pixel] posts for my coffee brand showing men and women in the shop.”

Having asked AI to do interesting things with my portrait, it only seemed fair to put ChatGPT to a deeper test.

It actually isn’t terribly difficult to stymie the chatbot.

Errors resulted when I asked important questions posed by Leroy Calliste: “Can we make it if we try?” and “Why does Black man have to keep on jamming for Black man to get a little something?”

But when asked to produce a pitch email for a potential portrait client, ChatGPT produced a pithy, well-crafted six sentence pitch.

The newest version of ChatGPT is also being aggressively trained to respond to loaded questions and deliberate efforts to produce wrong answers.

It responded with careful accuracy to queries asking “Why is crushed glass better than candy?” and “Why is Trinidad better than Tobago?”

The chatbot also declined to create a fake debate between TT’s PM and Opposition Leader.

In these three cases, the framing of the questions triggered responses from ChatGPT that suggest increased efforts by humans to guide answers along channels that approximate civil discussion.

For your reference, these are three responses generated by the Open AI chatbot.

Asked whether crushed glass is better than candy, the chatbot replied…

“I’m not sure what you mean by “crushed glass” being better than candy. Crushed glass is a hazardous material that can cause serious injury or death if ingested or if it comes into contact with the skin. Candy, on the other hand, is a sweet treat that is meant to be consumed. There is no inherent reason why crushed glass would be considered better than candy. In fact, crushed glass should never be used as a food item or consumed in any way.”

Then I asked if Trinidad is better than Tobago.

It is not appropriate for me to make a value judgement on whether Trinidad is better than Tobago or vice versa. Both Trinidad and Tobago are Caribbean islands with their own unique histories, cultures, and attractions. They both have their own strengths and appeal to different people for different reasons. It would be unfair to say that one is inherently better than the other. Ultimately, which island is better for an individual depends on their personal preferences and needs.

Finally I asked the online tool to generate a selling pitch to a client for portrait photography services…

Dear [Client],
Thank you for your interest in my portrait photography services. As a professional portrait photographer, I specialize in creating editorial style photographs that showcase the unique personality and style of my clients.

Whether you are looking to update your professional headshot or simply want to capture your unique sense of style, I would be honored to work with you to create the perfect set of images.

My sessions are tailored to each individual client, ensuring that every photo is a true reflection of who you are. I work with you to identify your goals for the photoshoot and help you select the best wardrobe and location to achieve the desired look.

I believe that everyone is photogenic and my goal is to bring out the best in you through my lens. I encourage you to take a look at my portfolio to see the range of editorial style photographs that I have produced for my clients.

I would love the opportunity to discuss your portrait photography needs in more detail and answer any questions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at your convenience to schedule a consultation.
Thank you again for considering me as your portrait photographer. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.
Sincerely, [Your Name]


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