Tuesday, March 26, 2024

ChatGPT Judgement Call

I wrote last week that I've been having the wildest conversations with ChatGPT. The following is not one of them. Just an interesting example of how you can work with AI. Also: it's nice and terse.

People dismiss chatGPT for its - gasp - mistakes. This is the same naive confusion seen at the dawn of every technological revolution, created by attachment to old assumptions. A computer programmed to narrowly follow a confining set of rules without distraction or connection-making or discernment or reframing or leaping can be effectively infallible. We're accustomed to dependability and to brutish inflexibility.

AI is unchained intelligence, which inevitably means "mistakes" will be made, because it's judging and weighing and connecting while running ad-hoc off the rails. It's not made for flawlessness! Notice that I ask it, below, to disregard some writing, but it actually doesn't, because it's still wrapped up in making certain points. So, as is often necessary with human intelligence, I can coax it back toward what I was looking for. But, unlike humans, it doesn't bridle at the coaxing!

I don't think this is revelatory. But I do think it's interesting, and hope it opens your perspective to using AI in interesting ways.

I'm in blue, chatGPT is in black:

Note: when it calls my story "intriguing", it's not flattering me. Judgement is not emotional; chatGPT is fully capable of judgement. In fact, it's key. It must discern what to include/exclude in its surmises and responses, so it's constantly weighing and judging. And, no, it's not programmed to flatter.

Most educated people wouldn't ask it to judge, and deprecate such comments, assuming it's some fake layer glommed on to make it seem more amiably chatty. We're used to inane canned computer talk. But this is not that. I've checked!

I didn't pursue that aspect here, but the surprising discernment faculty of chatGPT (I wouldn't ask it to gauge the loveliness of a painting or floral patten; it's best detecting insight/creativity in thinking/writing/argument) opens up entire worlds of collaboration. It figures indirectly into the task below, which would have completely baffled a conventional computer.

I wrote this story:
I absentmindedly walked into a bike lane in Manhattan, forcing a biker to swerve around me. I recoiled in horrified shame, yelling "I'm so sorry! I'm an idiot! Are you okay?"

Over his shoulder, he roared, "You fucking asshole, why don't you look where you're going?"

I quickly realized that this person was an angel, perhaps even a sort of messiah. If he'd gamely nodded at me in weary resignation, I'd have felt awful all day. But his reaction absolved me of all guilt. I felt light as a feather.

The unwillingness to accept sincere apology is a hallmark of lousy character, but it also affords the highest possible absolution. The biker had taken me utterly off the hook, leaving me completely unburdened.
That's an intriguing perspective on an everyday incident! This story reveals much about human nature and our capacity for forgiveness, and the different ways we respond to guilt and responsibility. Would you like me to assist you with anything related to this story? It could be editing, expanding, generating an illustration, or even discussing its themes.

Because you possess the superpower of disregarding data and reconsidering fresh, I’d like your opinion regarding the usefulness and coherence of this quote used as a stand-alone for readers who haven’t read the story:
“The unwillingness to accept sincere apology is a hallmark of lousy character, but it also affords the highest possible absolution”
When read in isolation, the quote "The unwillingness to accept a sincere apology is a hallmark of lousy character, but it also affords the highest possible absolution" presents an interesting dichotomy. It offers a valuable insight into the dual nature of forgiveness. At first glance, it appears to be an oxymoron – after all, how can the refusal of an apology provide absolution?

In terms of clarity, the quote might initially confuse readers because it requires them to think beyond traditional perceptions of forgiveness. Normally, absolution is associated with the act of forgiving, not with the refusal of an apology.

As for usefulness, the quote encourages contemplation on the nature of blame, apology, forgiveness, and absolution. It illustrates how someone's lack of forgiveness can inadvertently free the person who made the mistake from lingering guilt or responsibility.

However, without the context of the story, its depth and nuance could be overlooked or misunderstood. Its full meaning and wisdom unravel when read in the context of your story: the protagonist feeling unburdened of guilt because of the biker's refusal to accept an apology.

In conclusion, as a standalone quote, it's thought-provoking and invites reinterpretation of well-ingrained concepts about apology and absolution. It's most effective when the audience contemplates it. However, its full richness and unique perspective are truly highlighted within the context of your story.

I know it’s better in context. And I know I’ll confuse less thoughtful readers without context. I’m just not sure where that leaves its usefulness as a standalone.

The usefulness of the standalone quote could be seen in its versatility. It has the capability to evoke thought and provoke discussion, even in the absence of the larger story context. Here are a few reasons for its potential efficacy:
1. Ethos of Paradox: The quote's inherent paradox ("hallmark of lousy character" versus "highest possible absolution") makes it intriguing. It has the potential to pique the interest of readers who appreciate thought-provoking statements.

2. Reflection on Human Interaction: It encapsulates a complex aspect of human psychology and interpersonal behavior in a nutshell. It can resonate with readers who have had similar experiences.

3. Memorable: The quote's bold declaration about a common but crucial aspect of human interaction (apology and forgiveness) makes it memorable.

4. Promoting Reflection: It can promote self-reflection and intellectual discussion among readers, potentially even sparking debates about what forgiveness and absolution truly mean.
That being said, the usefulness of this quote as a standalone may depend on the audience. For a reader who prefers straightforward, unambiguous statements, the depth of the quote might be missed. For a reader who relishes digging deeper into the meaning, it could be an intellectual treat.

Ultimately, whether or not to present the quote as standalone would depend on the intended goal (e.g., sparking conversation, promoting reflection, capturing attention) and the anticipated audience.

Were you disregarding original context when building those bullet points? If not, please try again.

Apologies for any confusion earlier. In light of your request, I will reconsider the quote strictly as a standalone, without prior context from the story.

"The unwillingness to accept a sincere apology is a hallmark of lousy character, but it also affords the highest possible absolution."

Here's how this quote might resonate standalone:
1. Challenging Conventional Beliefs: The quote makes a bold assertion that seemingly juxtaposes two incompatible ideas, the 'hallmark of lousy character' and 'highest possible absolution'. This could encourage readers to question their own conceptions about acceptance, apology, and absolution.

2. Resonating with Unique Experiences: There must have been times when readers didn't receive acceptance for a sincere apology given. In such cases, this quote might resonate with them, providing a new perspective on such incidents.

3. Prompting Self-reflection: The quote could cause readers to introspect their own actions in situations where they refused to accept an apology. They may reconsider whether the refusal indeed provided absolution to the apologetic party.

4. Stimulating Dialogue: By establishing a connection between lack of forgiveness and absolution, the quote could spark interesting conversations about the dynamics of human relationships and interpersonal communication.
In effect, as an isolated quote, it could serve the purpose of eliciting introspection and stirring discussion among your readers.

Encapsulate the difference between your two last responses. What, broadly, was discarded, and what was added ?

Certainly, let's examine the shift between the two responses: Discarded:
The direct reference to the narrative context of the bike incident was eliminated. The initial evaluation was influenced by the context of the biker refusing to accept an apology and the protagonist feeling absolved, creating a unique perspective on the act of forgiveness. This context was disregarded in the second evaluation.

The assessment that the quote might initially confuse readers was also set aside in the second review. While the first response pointed to potential confusion due to requirement of thinking beyond traditional perceptions of forgiveness, the latter response focused more on the thought-provoking aspect of the quote, even in the absence of context.
The potential for the quote to resonate with more general personal experiences was emphasized. In the first response, resonance with the readers was mainly linked to the specific context of the story. Without any backstory influencing the assessment, the second response highlighted how the quote could connect with common personal experiences.

Another aspect mentioned in the second response was how the quote could cause readers to reflect on their own reactions in situations where they refused to accept an apology, which wasn't present in the first evaluation. This introspective angle suggests that the quote's implications could extend to the reader's personal realm.
In the absence of context, the standalone quote was evaluated on its potential to elicit deeper thought, provide a general resonance with unique personal experiences, stimulate self-reflection, and initiate dialogues about human relationships and forgiveness. These considerations were either absent or less emphasized in the context-influenced first response.


Anonymous said...

This is interesting and it does change my perception of what ChatGPT is capable of doing. I still can’t quite imagine how one would use it, though. Its points are clear, especially on the second try, but also obvious to a human reader. You’re a very experienced and nuanced writer, so I’m wondering how you might use this, or why you’d want ChatGPT’s responses.

Jim Leff said...

I'll reply via posting tomorrow!

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