Is ChatGPT a threat or powerful tool for authentic copy? As it’s not going to go away, how can we embrace it and use it responsibly to address the panic it has created among freelancers in the media and communication world?
“The real question is, does it replace all of you? The answer is, it will replace some of you, if you don’t embrace it. If you see it as the enemy, then it will be the enemy. But the truth is that it’s an incredibly powerful tool for editors and writers to use as a support mechanism,” said Arthur Goldstuck, a member of Safrea’s Oversight Committee and an award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator at a recent webinar to Safreans.
Seeing it in context
“Looking at ChatGPT and the evolution of the game, one must bear in mind that information about it is getting outdated by the week. ChatGPT is no longer the only game in town – Microsoft and Google also announced their rivals. And all of them are still in test phase and getting things wrong. On the other hand, it produces useful content – it can create a framework for pieces and summarise the structure of a piece.”
“Remember, there is nothing definite about AI – the reality is blurred and vague. What I say today, may not be as applicable tomorrow. The environment is shifting radically by the day, and certainly by the week.”
|Strengths and weaknesses
It does the following competently:
· Research and produce facts
· Churn out a book in 10 minutes
· Write a good blurb and sequel
· Summarise content
· Edit grammar, spelling and style
· Provide structure for pieces or restructure pieces
It has the following limitations:
· It pulls data from the internet up to the end of 2021. It cannot produce information on current affairs as it’s more than a year old.
· It’s not creative and it’s unable to inject style into the content
· It’s not humorous
· It lacks emotions
· Its content is dull, pedestrian and highly repetitive
· It cannot develop insights
· It’s USA/western biased
· It makes some mistakes.
What about plagiarism?
“One will probably recognise a piece produced by AI, because of how pedestrian it tends to be. But more and more tools will emerge to detect AI-related plagiarism. I also believe that future versions will be able to add emotion, humour and a bit more style.”
“If you quote directly from AI-produced content, you have to reference the source. This should be the stylistic rule of using AI-based content. You don’t have to disclose when you use ChatGPT as a spell checker as you don’t disclose using Grammarly or Microsoft Word’s spell check to enhance your editing. However, when you produce content using ChatGPT, ethically you have an obligation to acknowledge it.”
Building your voice and insights
“ChatGPT is a powerful support tool and mechanism to help you structure or restructure pieces. It can edit a badly written piece for grammar and spelling. This will save you an enormous amount of time. It means that you can focus on making the piece more creative. Generally speaking, this is the massive benefit of AI chat tools to writers and editors. You can now focus on injecting creativity and style into the content – developing your own voice. A big challenge to writers is that they focus so much on producing the content, that they don’t have the time or energy to build the voice.”
“Academia should also embrace these tools, encouraging students to use them as a vehicle not to spend too much time on the drudgery of information gathering, but rather focus on crafting the pieces around the information. This way they will build insights, understanding and creativity on top of that as it is something ChatGPT cannot do – it cannot develop its own insights. Lecturers and teachers will then be able to grade students on the level of insights, rather than the facts they’re able to produce.”
More about Arthur Goldstuck
Arthur Goldstuck is a member of Safrea’s Oversight Committee and an award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator. He is author of 19 books, including South Africa’s all-time best-selling book on information technology. He is the founder of Gadget, SA’s oldest consumer technology magazine, and writes a weekly technology trends column and tech features for Business Times in the Sunday Times. He has been a judge of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards since 2011.
In 2013 Arthur was presented with the Distinguished Service in ICT Award by the Institute of IT Professionals of South Africa. In 2021 he was elected to the Southern African Speakers Hall of Fame. He is the founder of World Wide Worx, South Africa’s leading independent technology market research organisation. In 2022, the global insights community Esomar named him to the Insights 250 honour roll of the world’s top innovators in market research, enterprise intelligence and data-driven marketing.