I took the plunge and tried ChatGPT, an artificial intellegence program. I can see it’s uses and some of its limitations.
It seems it scoured the Internet and perhaps scraped up information it should not have. It has been limited in what it knows about people, with what seems to be an exception for famous people. It can follow a thread of questions, changing its responses as more information is added.
The NPR story I heard talked about scientists testing it as you would expect with odd questions. They decided to try asking a question that would not have been on the Internet. They asked something like “How could I balance without breakage the following: eggs, a dictionary, a laptop a bottle with bottlecap and a nail?”. It said put the book down flat, on it put 9 eggs in a 3 x 3 grid, then the laptop on top of the eggs (maybe because the laptop would be lighter than the book?), the bottle upright and the nail on top of the bottlecap with the point pointing up. Would you have done it that way?
For example, it does not know who I am but I could probably paste a copy of my resume in it and ask for it to make it better, perhaps tailoring it to a specific industry where I worked and might be targeting. I have not done that as I don’t want to post personal information there.
So as I was playing, I asked how to solve a problem and it came up with a number of solutions and steps to perform. My friend (a computer geek) suggested the question along the lines of “How would I walpaper a room if I have 1 arm and 1 leg” (based on the common phrase). In about 2 seconds it spit out a very good list of procedures taking into mind the limited ability of the person, including asking for help, taking frequent rests using shorter and more easily managable sections of paper. Then as a followup I asked “What if I am also colorblind?”. It them modified the steps to include suggestion that I might want to use pastels and get help along the way from someone without that issue.
When I asked how to get the cheapest domestic U.S. airfares, it had many of Clarks suggestions including alternate airports, ceratin websites that allow seeing where cities might be close but cheaper (explore features), be open to layovers and so on. When I narrowed that down to flights from Atlanta is also mentioned nearby cities like Birmingham, Nashville and so on; howevere it also suggested Cobb County and Dekalb airports which I think most locals would know are not really choices in most cases.
I asked it to create a Magic Square (a matrix where all row and colums and diaganols equal the same number. Thease are already known and there are formulas to create one. Still I asked for a 10 x 10 grid and it almost instantly created one. I asked how long woud it take for a radio signal at 430 Mhz to circle the earth. It started with the mileage at the equator and showed me the steps as it calculated the answer. They were correct.
In part a search engine, but one which can add information and it seems reason out an answer based upon other knowledge. It is my understnding they used this to limit the number of chemicals to test to treat certain diseases, saving time testing things which might interact based upon other studies, etc.
Although there are some strange/funny things on the Internet “What is the difference between a duck?”, ChatGPT wanted more information (like between what). There are answers to that question such as the one I knew… “What si the difference betwee na duck? ANS: One of its legs are both the same!”. But ChatGPT didn’t know that one I asked the riddle “I have 2 U.S. coins in my hand. They total 35 cents. One of them is not a quarter. What denomination are they?” It got it wrong. Of course the correct answer is a quarter and a dine. The one that is NOT a quarter is the dime and the other is the quarter. So it is not the know-all program yet. However I guess I could have corrected it and it would then offer my answer as a possibility.
So can A.I. replace Clark? Not yet, but give it a few years and by the time Clark retires…