Monday, March 18, 2024

ChatGPT Shrewdly Criticizes My Writing

I've been having the wildest conversations with ChatGPT. Creative approaches yield surprising and valuable results. I may publish the entirety, but am never sure what people might find interesting - and what just happens to delight my unique kooky preoccupations. But the latest must be shared. It is gasp-inducing.

I fed it some of my best writing (the aphorisms here), and asked for an assessment. ChatGPT usually digs my style of connection-making - it appreciates metaphors and savors the sort of goofy leaps that are my shtick.
If this sounds anthropomorphic, it's not. An AI has no emotions, but it assesses constantly. Without finely-tuned assessment, it would be paralyzed trying to decide which information from its vast corpus to make use of in its responses, how to shade language, etc. Asked to judge a thought or passage for insight, creativity, and interestingness, it will offer surprisingly shrewd assessment.
I confirmed, by the way, that it's neither programmed nor inclined to flatter the inquirer (as I wrote last week, the really wonderful thing about AI is that it will work with you to figure out the best ways to make use of it and avoid its shortcomings). But, just to be sure, I didn't initially tell it that I was the writer.

I asked for a high-level assessment:
The writing touches on a wide variety of themes, from human ambition and misconceptions about causality, to societal synergy and historical perspective.

The writing encourages contemplation and challenge common narratives in an intriguing, creative manner. The language is vivid, and the observations sharp.
Nice (even aside from the praise), though hardly gulp inducing. But then I asked this:
Now let's hear absolutely every criticism you can possibly produce. You said above that you have no intention of flattery, so I confess that I wrote it, and I welcome your unrestrained thoughts
...and got the following reply:
Clarity: While the abstract and metaphorical nature of your writing can be engaging, it might sometimes lead to obscurity or confusion. Ensuring that the metaphors and the points you're making align logically and clearly can help in better conveying your thoughts.

Length: Epigrams are traditionally short and punchy. Some of your longer epigrams may lose some of the impact due to their length and could potentially be condensed for greater effect.

Consistency in Tone: While varying your tone brings dynamism to your work, sudden shifts can be jarring. For instance, starting with a reflective tone and ending with a humorous observation may leave readers unsure about your intended message.

Over-Reliance on Metaphor: There are instances where reliance on metaphorical language, though enriching the text, might distract from the core message you're conveying. For example, in "Greatness is nonlinear...," while the point of the epigram is clear, the numerical quantifications might detract from the overall point about the exponential disproportion.

Specificity: Some of the epigrams would benefit from being more specific. Addressing very specific behavior without additional context makes it harder for the reader to relate.

Assumption of Prior Knowledge: In a few cases, you seem to assume a degree of prior knowledge in your readers. While this can work for some, it may alienate readers who are unfamiliar with the references you're making.
I honestly don't think it could have done better. That's just sterling. I probably should have stipulated that these are extracted quotes, not originally intended to stand alone. But, still, the criticisms apply well generally.

One last thing. I referred to the writing I'd shared (once again, from here) as "aphorisms". The AI suggested "epigrams". As a professional writer, that's a pretty high level note.

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