About Those Challenges Posed by ChatGPT

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.

On the Challenges Posed by ChatGPT

Featured Photo Credit by Aaron Burden on Unsplash










Home At Last

Featured Photo Credit by Esther Merbt from Pixabay [edited]

Have you ever had this sensation?

You’re about to walk someplace, maybe as a young child, maybe with a parent or sibling, feeling absolutely glum, maybe even dismal, because “… it’s so far away!… we’ll have to walk so long!… it’s going to take forever!” The whole way there, it takes ages, like one long walking wait.

But once you finally get there and do your thing, and leave again for home, the walk back feels nowhere near as long, or daunting. I remember one explanation was that we encounter all the same things on the way home in reverse order – a fence, a tree, a crack in the sidewalk. Obviously, we reach them sooner in reverse, but they seem to arrive more quickly because they’re fresher memories. Then, before you know it, there we are again, home at last.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

… yeah, who knows. But I do know I’ve had that sensation plenty of times where the journey back felt way faster, and home nowhere near so forever-far away, than when we first set out.

Another explanation is that, when we first set out, a whole adventure lies ahead, and our imaginations have room to breathe and explore the unknown. This one rings true both directions, there and back, which is actually why I don’t buy it… if it’s such an adventure, then why all the dread and pre-walk fatigue and wishing we’re already finally finally there? Why do things one way feel like forever, but the other way seem so quick?

I got to wondering after another idea… how looking forward to the future can seem so far away, compared to looking back at the past, which can feel like just yesterday.

Photo Credit by Nati from Pexels

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: the past really is just yesterday. But I mean the distant past, which can feel so recent, particularly as we get older. There we are one day, when suddenly – whoosh – it’s all behind us. All sorts of thoughts arise, looking back… ‘it just goes so quickly’… ‘if I could do it all over again’… ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’… all those thoughts, and emotions too, which we sometimes call ‘regret’ or sometimes we call ‘wisdom’, and which only arrive as we look back from where we came.

As we look forward, “…ages from now” or “…in a few thousand years,” the future just seems so forever-far away, though there’s also a reverse effect… say, when some local business tries to invent tradition by leaning on – wow – a whole “quarter century.” No question, time scales in the hundreds and thousands consume lifetimes. Yet I’ve also had days as an adult when even “… next month” felt like the distant future. Days like that, looking back at fleeting life, I might happily wish I really was back walking to some faraway place with a parent or sibling – then, at least, I’d be looking forward not to the weight of ages but only to the walk back home.

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