Efficient tool or the end of independent thinking?
You must have been offline and probably off in deepest space not to have noticed all the fuss about Chat GPT lately. The possibilities, limitations, risks and side effects of the chatbot are currently being covered in all media. The interest in the website is now so great that access is not possible for hours. Although we at Harlekin.blog don’t see ourselves as trend followers, we thought it was time to react to all the hype about AI and try out the chatbot ourselves.
After experimenting with instructions on keywords, narrative style and form, we found it is capable of giving recipes and advice on sharing a meal, communicating fluently in multiple languages, writing bad limericks as well as a short article on project management, and defining internal rate of return (IRR), our next impulse was to take one of our existing articles and extract keywords for Chat GPT to work on so we could compare.
This was the result of using the text from Harlequin BBR: “Let your forehead go all soft” (Let your forehead go all soft… – harlekins spirit). Instructions: write a funny report of maximum 450 words using the keywords: Harlequin Beate, yoga, tablet, energy block, corns, cat hump, “your breastbone wants to go to your chin”, “breathe into the right knee”, “let your forehead go all soft,” pear, dog arching its back, air, trick.
Harlequin Beate, the local yoga instructor, had an interesting class this morning. She had her students do some poses that involved a tablet, but things quickly went awry. As she was demonstrating the “cat hump” pose, she noticed that one of her students, who had been experiencing some energy blocks, was trying to balance the tablet on her head. “Your breastbone wants to go to your chin,” Beate instructed, “not the tablet!”
The class erupted in laughter as the student quickly lowered the tablet and tried to regain her balance. But it wasn’t just the tablet that was causing problems. Another student, who had been suffering from corns, let out a loud yelp as she tried to breathe into the right knee. “Let your forehead go all soft,” Beate said calmly, trying to ease the tension.
Just as things were starting to calm down, a pear came flying through the air, landing right in the middle of the yoga mats. Everyone turned to see where it had come from, only to see a dog arching its back and barking in the corner of the room.
Beate, who is known for her sense of humor, quickly jumped into action. “Looks like we have a new pose for today,” she announced. “The dog arch!”
The class erupted in laughter again as they all tried to imitate the dog, wagging their tails and barking like crazy. It was a sight to behold, and Beate couldn’t help but laugh along with them.
As the class came to a close, Beate reminded her students to “breathe into the right knee” one last time, and then she pulled out a little trick. She filled the room with air and blew up a balloon, pretending to pop it and making a loud noise.The students were so surprised that
OK, not exactly a Booker Prize candidate, and Chat GPT stops in mid-sentence as if it hat run out of inspiration. Still, I thought it was amazing that the sentences were grammatically correct AND the text was logically put together. It was clever to avoid pitfalls like the odd expression in the original “let your forehead go all soft” by pretending to take it at face value! The humour was lost, and the tone sounds more like a bedtime story for 5 year-olds.
Harlequin Beate was curious about the chatbot’s literary strengths and gave it the following assignment:
Write an essay of 450 words about the novel “Hans and Heinz Kirch” using the keywords: Wieb, ship, ring, and father-son conflict (Beate wrote an exam paper on “The Father-Son Conflict in Theodor Storm’s Novellistik” a long long time ago and was therefore suitably inspired).
“Hans and Heinz Kirch” is a classic novel that delves into the complexities of father-son relationships and the impact of family conflict on individual lives. The story centers around two brothers, Hans and Heinz Kirch, who have vastly different personalities and struggle to reconcile their differences. The novel highlights the struggles of Wieb, the mother of the two brothers, who tries to bring the brothers together and heal the wounds of their father-son conflict.
The story begins with Hans and Heinz as young boys, and their father, a ship captain, gives Hans a ring as a symbol of his love and trust. The ring represents a connection between father and son, and Hans treasures it deeply. However, as the brothers grow older, their differences become more pronounced. Heinz, who is the elder of the two, is practical and responsible, while Hans is creative and spontaneous. The two brothers are unable to understand each other’s perspectives and soon develop a deep-seated animosity towards each other.
The conflict between the brothers is further compounded by the fact that their father, the ship captain, is constantly away on voyages. Wieb tries her best to bring the two brothers together and bridge the gap between them, but her efforts are in vain. The brothers remain deeply entrenched in their positions, unable to see the world from each other’s perspectives. The father-son conflict reaches a climax when Hans loses the ring that was given to him by his father. He accuses Heinz of taking it, and their relationship reaches an all-time low.
The novel reaches its climax when the ship captain returns and is informed of the situation between his sons. The captain is shocked and saddened by the news, and he immediately sets out to bring the two brothers together. He makes a brave and courageous attempt to heal the wounds of the father-son conflict by giving Hans a new ring, symbolizing his love and trust. The new ring symbolizes the captain’s efforts to rebuild the relationship between his sons and bridge the gap that has formed between them.
In conclusion, “Hans and Heinz Kirch” is a powerful story that explores the complexities of father-son relationships and the impact of family conflict on individual lives. Through the struggles of Wieb and the efforts of the ship captain, the novel highlights the importance of communication, understanding, and love in overcoming conflicts and restoring relationships. The novel is a timeless reminder of the power of love and the importance of forgiveness in resolving even the most deep-seated conflicts.
The limit was reached at 422 words. Perhaps there was a censor at work! It is true that Chat GPT succeeded in recognizing the correct book and identifying topics covered in it. But as a crib sheet for homework, the tool doesn’t really seem to be suitable. Our first attempt in German delivered different results, with its own mistakes. Here it erroneously talks of Hans and Heinz as brothers and it doesn’t know the romance between Heinz and the girl Wieb and refers to her as Hans and Heinz’ mother! In the novella it is Wieb who gives Heinz the ring. Instead of discussing a father-son conflict it invents one between the two “brothers”! In order to recognize such mistakes, students also need to know what the novella it is about – or at least the summary on Wikipedia, which, by the way, provides more detailed and profound information.
While the ELIZA program was written to fool people into thinking it was a real therapist by “therapeutically” requesting details without giving an opinion of its own, Chat GPT has been fed the internet until 2019 and is able to COMBINE what it has consumed into a plausible text (with no guarantee of veracity). Its humour is mediocre and inoffensive, its sense of irony and ambiguity minimal. Nevertheless, I was intrigued when I heard that a rabbi had given a sermon created by Chat GPT and asked the congregation who might have written it. No one noticed that it was “artificial.” Reportedly, teachers and academics are panicking because they will no longer able to tell if a student has written an essay themselves. Before chatbots, it was relatively easy to recognize uncritically cited sources from the Internet. Recently, several US states banned the use of chat GPT in schools and universities. Perhaps more urgently, we need to rethink the way we learn, test, and interact with media in the 21st century.