As someone who has always been fascinated by the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), I was intrigued and thrilled to stumble upon ChatGPT, a large language model developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT can respond to all sorts of questions, from factual to humorous, so I decided to put it to the test and explore its abilities.
I wanted to see what this AI-powered tool was capable of, so I started asking ChatGPT all sorts of questions, from the practical to the absurd. Overall I was impressed, how I can create fairly complex questions or discuss topics over multiple interactions while getting useful and insightful responses from ChatGPT. However, it is also noticeable that it may repeat itself, goes in circles sometimes or provides incomplete responses. I asked it to summarize my interactions with it and write this blogpost – it did write a great general summary and did a great start on more detailed sections, but some of the content in there was false.
Here are a few examples:
- I asked about stocks and which companies might perform well.
- I asked for jokes, and ChatGPT delivered a stream of witty one-liners that had me laughing out loud.
- I asked it to improve my LinkedIn profile, by rewriting sections of it to sound more professional.
- I asked it to compare the US and Switzerland’s education spending, including citing the datasources used and explaining it in Shakespearean.
- I even asked for help creating an ASCII art level for a Mario-like game, and ChatGPT came up with a design that was both creative and challenging.
- I asked it for advice how I can cut down on having hundreds of tabs open and ChatGPT comforted me that I wasn’t alone and gave me tips and suggested browser features and other tools I could leverage and use.
- I described some software performance issues I faced and it gave me some useful suggestions on what I could explore to resolve the issue.
- I asked it to write this blog post, including SEO tags, title and image suggestions and asked it for help to debug some WordPress issues! — spoiler: I did rewrite a fair amount of this, but it provided me with a good start!
No matter what I asked, ChatGPT always had an answer – and often a clever or amusing one at that.
As I continued to explore ChatGPT, I began to realize just how powerful and versatile this tool really is. Initially I asked it to generate jokes – like we ask from any voice assistant – but it quickly lead to more complicated things like creating ASCII art, and even provide stock market insights. And it does it all with remarkable speed and accuracy.
One of the things that impressed me most about ChatGPT was its ability to adapt to different kinds of questions and requests. It was equally adept at answering serious questions about debugging software issues as it was at coming up with silly jokes. No matter what I threw at it, ChatGPT was always up for the challenge.
This is no joke
Initially my exploration started with having ChatGPT tell me jokes.
Create a joke fitting for a wedding, involving a dog and someone spilling coffee
Why did the bride and groom invite their dog to the wedding?
– Because he was the paw-fect ring bearer!
And what happened when someone accidentally spilled coffee on the bride’s dress during the reception?ChatGPT – Feb 18, 2023
– She brewed up a storm!
ChatGPT did a decent job at that and even compiled entire lists and suggested a script for a guitar performance of ten songs with transitions:
I’m playing guitar this weekend. I have a set of 10 songs and need jokes to tell between the songs. Give me a script with intro and transitions between the songs and a few jokes to tell along the way to entertain the crowd.
Absolutely! Here’s a sample script with song transitions and a few jokes to tell along the way:
Hello everyone and welcome to tonight’s guitar set. My name is [YOUR NAME], and I’ll be playing 10 songs for you tonight. I hope you’re all ready to have a great time and enjoy some good music. But before we get started, let me tell you a few jokes to warm up the crowd.
[…]Intro, transition and outro script for a performance with jokes
The script is simple and repetitive, BUT it is usable. It could be used as inspiration or a starting point for people who are busking or doing gigs.
Designing a Super Mario-like side-scrolling level
In my continued exploration I had a random thought. What if I ask it to create a level for a side-scrolling video game? A bunch of colleagues of mine and I created a Super Mario-like side-scrolling game during our undergraduate degree and used ASCII text files to define the levels. So I did just that and asked ChatGPT: Can you build a level for a super mario like game visualizing it here using ascii characters
— and it sure did create one and even included a legend!:
| _ _ |
| / / / \ |
|___/ / / \ ________ |
| \ \/ / / | \ |
| \__/ / | | |
|______/ /| | | |
| |__/ | | |
____________________ | | | |
| ___ | / \ | | |
| | | ___|_ / \ | | |
| |___| | __ |_/ O \___ | | |
| |_| |_| | | | |
| ___|_ | | |
| | __ |____| | |
| |_| |_| | |
Mrepresents the starting point for Mario.
_represents the ground.
|represents a wall or a barrier that Mario cannot pass through.
\represent inclined surfaces that Mario can walk up or down.
Orepresents an obstacle or enemy that Mario needs to avoid.
At the end it did clarify that this is just a simple example:
Give me money advice!
As many people would ask eventually, I did ask ChatGPT for money advice, but it refused to give me advice and suggested I ask a financial advisor instead — it is likely a “gated” topic and I wouldn’t expect a historical statistical model be that great at predicting the future.
Give me life, mental, productivity advice!
So I changed gears and asked about things that bother me. For example, I always have a lot of browser tabs open and have read a few blog posts and opinions about it online on how to improve. I asked ChatGPT if I have a problem and what I should do and it reassured me that I’m not alone and suggested a multitude of steps I can take to reduce them. When asked for more specific examples, it even suggested features and tools I could use in the browser I currently use – Safari.
Summarizing data and process it
I wanted to push ChatGPT further. The specific question here doesn’t really matter. We could ask it about something political, the affordable healthcare act, or production of goods. Instead I asked it about a topic I was interested in doing a blogpost about, but I was struggling with finding reliable information:
ChatGPT pulled the data from World Bank – a site I was unfamiliar with – and successfully created a table comparing the education expenses of both countries.
|Education Expenditure (% of GDP)
|Education Expenditure per Capita
This is extremely powerful, as this would’ve taken me significantly longer to:
- find the datasource
- review the content
- select the relevant data
- create a comparison table and citations
I have to be honest, I cannot verify how ChatGPT came up with the per capita numbers. They’re likely incorrect or not what I think they are, but navigating through the site myself and googling what the US’s education spending was for 2017 was just confusing.
Debugging Software Problems
ChatGPT’s easy interaction made me wonder if it could actually help me do tasks like my actual work — write software?! So I gave it one of the problems I’m facing with my mobile app “RoadCam” that I’m working on these days. It uses a map on which it draws traffic cameras and runs into some performance issues if there are thousands of cameras. I asked ChatGPT for advice and was surprised how specific it is. I even started a discussion and explained that I’ve already tried some of it’s suggestions and ChatGPT built upon my feedback, giving me additional avenues to explore.
Generally it felt like I was talking with Apple’s documentation. Very knowledgeable about how certain API’s should work, but the advice I received was very generic and unspecific to my problem. Granted, my questions were very brief and probably didn’t reveal sufficient details for even an expert in the field to give me more detailed or better advice. But it felt great, getting a second opinion on a problem that I’ve been working on for a while. And the response was fast, I can ask follow up questions, no appointments necessary, no time limitations, no judgement.
When writing this article I copied the transcript of our conversation into a separate blog post, to keep this document a shorter read. However, I realized there was no way to hide the supplemental post from the blog main page — only pages can be hidden — which meant I needed to convert the post to a page. After some searching went ahead and asked ChatGPT what the easiest way to do this would be.
ChatGPT suggested to just change the post type to a page, but the functionality it referred to appeared to be absent in my version. As a result, I queried whether this feature is unsupported in some specific versions of WordPress. ChatGPT confirmed that a post conversion feature should be available, and suggested that I might be encountering a permissions issue. In addition, ChatGPT went beyond my request and also proposed an alternative solution that would enable me to convert the post regardless.
ChatGPT seems to do really well in providing multiple solutions and detailed suggestions when responding to an initial problem or follow up questions.
To my surprise ChatGPT understand and can write multiple dialects of Swiss German, which is different to the German people learn at school.
I asked ChatGPT to generate a list of languages it can understand and speak and it created a list of 107 languages, but the number must be even higher, as it did not include any Swiss German dialect. This is very impressive that most AI models and assistants I’ve interacted are limited to English or a few major languages.
I was able to have full conversions on dog food, subway projects in Zurich in German and Swiss German. In the end I even asked ChatGPT to create a poem in Swiss German. I intentionally asked it for something more complex and had to play around with my request until it came up with something that I liked. Here’s an example:
Ein Fuchs am Flughafen Züri,
läckt Glacé, voller Fröhlichkeit und Gspüri.
Doch plötzlich, oh Schreck,
die Flughafenpolizei isch do und treibt ihn weg.
Please note the Swiss German is not entirely smooth and looks like a mixture between German and Swiss German, but it’s a great start and only needs a few adjustments:
En Fuchs am Flughafä Züri,
schläckt Glacé, vollär Fröhlichkeit und Gspüri.
Doch plötzlich, oh Schreck,
d’Flughafäpolizei isch do und triibt ihn weg.
Where it struggles
Generally observed ChatGPT struggle in following areas
- it struggles giving long responses, for example transcribing my entire conversation or writing a summary was incomplete or truncated
- it is very confident and conveys that in it’s responses, making it even more important to read and reflect on the information provided carefully as it may be wrong.
- it loses context — I used one thread for this blog post where I asked a lot of unrelated questions. At some point it seems like ChatGPT struggles keeping up with the context. For example I asked it to review this blog post and it started talking about customer service, despite it never has been a topic in our thread. I wonder if this is just a bug due to to the complexity of our conversation, but regardless it’s impressive how much it can keep track of while still maintaining speed.
Despite its limitations, I found my exploration of ChatGPT to be a fascinating and eye-opening experience. It showed me just how much technology has advanced in recent years and how much more we have yet to learn and discover. I’m particularly impressed by it’s breadth in language knowledge!
I believe that it is good enough to be used to get starting points into a new project, summarize information and get some tips and quick answers to questions. Of course, we always have to reflect and double check important information, but it is faster than most Google searches I’ve done recently.
Where can you try ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is currently in a free research preview, please go to chat.openai.com, sign up and try it out!
Parts of this article were generated by ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI and revised by me – Roland.
Also published on Medium.