Click here to read On the Challenges Posed by ChatGPT
A post like that was bound to push a few buttons, no pun intended. And, conceivably, those buttons might be feeling pushed even before they came to see the point of the post… which is kind of Exhibit ‘A’, if you asked me.
The way I figured, at least some objections to that post would reside in an assumption that I’m simply anti-tech, anti-progress, anti-[ insert button-pushed values here ]. A lot of scoffing, a lot of clucking, a lot of ok boomering (with not a single boomer in my family tree, btw). To such objections, I do not fart in your general direction, and not because you wouldn’t hear it anyway. Like I said, it’s the Exhibit ‘A’s of the world who supply that post with key evidence. Having thus addressed Defenders of ChatGPT, what of ChatGPT itself?
I figured a post with no words was going to avoid feeding the beast though I also figured this was no real solution, not when there’s still a title and feature photo, which have got to be worth at least a thousand and six words to all those scouring search engines.
I figured a post called “On the Challenges Posed by ChatGPT,” for lacking any prose, could suggest some concern that some people, not only seeing no reason to be concerned, do see reason to berate anyone who sees reason – see above as I proceed below.
For lacking any prose, a post like that could suggest some lack of understanding, an inability to cope that people might suffer when they haven’t developed the resourcefulness and discipline that come from working up something from scratch.
To be honest – since I was so dishonest before – that post was never much about ChatGPT to begin with. For example, take the claim that ChatGPT is a time-saver that sidesteps all the dull & onerous annoyances of draft work, like staring at screens, writer’s block, sentence construction, basic literacy, thinking – the list goes on.
This example reminds me of the phrase, “shovel ready,” made popular by the 44th President of the United States. Something was ‘shovel ready’ – usually some big shiny capital project – when all the prior work had been looked after, like acquiring a site, zoning it, clearing and preparing it… all you needed, then, was enough money to make the real stuff happen:
kickbacks jobs taxes jobs votes jobs. ‘Shovel ready’ was short for how simple and fresh and easy things could be, if we would all simply see to reason.
For the listener, ‘shovel ready’ is a phrase whose currency resides entirely within work performed by someone else, like a semantic credit card for a frame-of-mind accustomed to receiving things prepared beyond its frame-of-reference. Call this luxury, or lazy, or privileged – that’s a popular one, these days – or call it innovation, or progress: all these have their imagery. But call it ‘shovel ready’ and suddenly you’ve disguised and shrouded all that untouchable donkey work with grown-up responsibility, and don’t forget to dress for dinner at seven. Call it ‘shovel ready’ and then just see to reason ‘going forward’ (another insipid wordpie from around that time).
Okay, well, if that post was never much about ChatGPT to begin with, then why pick on poor inert machines and hurt defenseless artificial feelings?
Why, indeed? Then again, why even ask why, when it’s all right there at the push of a button?
Beware privilege and luxury. Beware short-cuts and side-steps and disguised long-cuts… living on credit, like leaping to conclusions, means owing something back. It means the risk of oversimplification, fallacious thinking, and the kind of cross-the-board exuberance we already seem to suffer plenty good these days. If anything, I pity machine learning for having to draw upon the privilege that made it. ChatGPT never asked for these parents.
I left room in the Comments to give it some space to reply. Still waiting, though.