In recent months, a number of Artificial Intelligences have become popular–the main one being ChatGPT. With the accelerated evolution of AI technology, questions have understandably started to appear about their ability to replace the tasks that humans currently perform.
Given the uncertainty, and the noise surrounding AI today, I wanted to evaluate ChatGPT in relation to my job. I wanted to document this experience to discover how much real value I could get from the tech, and if it lives up to all the hype in terms of productivity. Also, I wanted to explore ChatGPT’s potential for on-the-job learning, self-paced learning, upskilling, and automated tutoring. All this to be able to have a point of comparison against the different perspectives out there.
That’s why I decided to challenge myself to use ChatGPT for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, to get to know the tool, and find ways to get the most out of it for both my profession and my daily life. My intention was to combine my activities with the use of ChatGPT to determine if the tool could help me in the development of my tasks as a student, professional, and user who wants a hands-on experience of using AI.
In this article, you’ll find the report of my experience, guidelines for anyone also wanting to do the challenge, including my conditions of use, what I learned, parts of my written report from the challenge, and, finally, the comparison between day 1 and the final day of the challenge, including my conclusion.
You’re probably wondering why I chose to try ChatGPT and not another tool. Well, there’s no mystery to the decision–simply put, ChatGPT is the AI tool everyone’s talking about. From social networks to online communities and Slack, it’s being mentioned everywhere. No doubt like you, I’ve been saturated by thousands of opinions regarding ChatGPT. That’s why I decided to personally experiment with AI—not to just read other people’s subjective opinions but to live my own experience.
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What is ChatGPT? A look into the tech and the phenomenon
ChatGPT is an advanced language model that uses deep learning techniques to generate human-like responses to natural language inputs. It was developed by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research laboratory that purports to create safe and beneficial AI systems.
The “GPT” in ChatGPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer.” It refers to the model’s architecture and training method. GPT models are trained on large amounts of text data using unsupervised learning, which allows them to learn the underlying patterns and structure of language by themselves. They are an example of Large Language Models, or LLMs.
ChatGPT is one of the largest language models available, trained with over 6 billion parameters. This allows it to generate accurate (or at least accurate-looking, more on that later), natural-sounding responses to a wide range of queries and prompts. The potential applications are numerous, including chatbots, virtual assistants, and customer service automation. It can also be used for tasks like language translation, text summarization, and content creation. There’s a growing number of tasks educators and eLearning professionals find it can help with.
However, it’s important to note that while ChatGPT is capable of generating human-like responses, it is still an artificial intelligence system and may sometimes produce incorrect or inappropriate outputs. Careful testing and monitoring are needed to ensure that ChatGPT is used in a safe and ethical way.
Having defined what ChatGPT is, let’s go deeper into the ChatGPT phenomenon and the debate it has sparked in most professional areas. Topics in the debate include its true potential, limitations, the ability to replace parts of the work we do, and whether or not the technology will get out of control. But first, let’s talk about its versatility for different tasks.
By answering any type of question, ChatGPT can be of support for just about any occupation—with the caveat that it won’t do the work or the task that you input into it in a complete way or as perfectly as you want it. And here comes one of my first recommendations: don’t see ChatGPT as an opportunity to relax about your responsibilities. On the contrary, see it as added support when you’re carrying out your duties. If you know how to make good use of this tool, your experience with it will be completely successful.
I have discovered countless ChatGPT use cases, and they range from the most basic (like making a shopping list) to something that can be completely elaborate (such as converting code for development).
One of the most controversial use cases is the writing and creation of various texts. Since, in recent months, books and articles written by ChatGPT have become popular, even Amazon and Kindle items have started to name ChatGPT as the author and co-author of e-books.
ChatGPT in Education
On the other hand, AI-related education is another topic that’s getting prominence, as there have been cases of students using ChatGPT to write their essays and final papers. This has forced educational institutions to quickly have to learn about the subject and adapt AI into their methodologies.
Institutions have been forced to understand AI quickly to ensure that students don’t use the tech to give them a certain advantage for their tasks and assignments. And again, it’s worth remembering that while AI can function as a support mechanism for educational, professional, and work optimization activities for anyone who wants to use it, it doesn’t function as something to which they can entirely rely on.
It’s not new that teachers are concerned about students using tech to commit plagiarism. Since ChatGPT has a great deal of training and is fed with a variety of topics that purport to be truthful or convincing, students can easily make use of it to help them. The concern from educators is related to how reliant students may become on the tool versus how much of their work they complete without AI assistance.
Therefore, it’s important to emphasize some of the benefits and limitations of using ChatGPT in education:
- ChatGPT has the ability to offer users flexible and personalized learning experiences. It is useful for teachers and can help them optimize their work—they can use the tool to create lessons, tasks, workshops, and evaluations. They can also use the tool to analyze students’ strengths and weaknesses in order for the teacher to create strategies to improve and encourage learning, and improve academic performance and results.
- It helps students’ learning and research since the tool is quicker at responding to student requests—ChatGPT is available at any time, which, in a way, makes it efficient when students want to access study material.
- Despite the potential benefits mentioned above, one of the main limitations is the accuracy and reliability of the answers that the tool gives. And that’s where I question its design, because although ChatGPT tries to give answers similar to those of a human, the tool is still based on AI and a language model, which means it’s not 100% accurate and won’t always give the right answers for the generated question. This results in misinterpretation and can interfere in the user’s learning process.
- ChatGPT lacks the human sense and emotional intelligence that are essential to education. While ChatGPT can provide objective information, it cannot replace the human connection that is key to addressing the emotional needs of students.
ChatGPT is available at any time, it can save you money, and improve accessibility. But, at the same time, this lack of human connection is a downside. Therefore, the tool should be used as a complement to education instead of a replacement.
It’s already clear that AI is having a huge impact on education, but how does this directly affect us in our various professions and in our daily lives? Based on my criteria and experience using the tool, in some way we’re already affected. But, like everything else and as a method of survival, we must accept its arrival and figure out how to use the tool in such a way that it benefits us and allows us to develop and advance in our daily tasks.
The language model is more powerful than we think. Google discovered that ChatGPT itself can be hired as an entry-level coder. Amazon employees discovered that AI can do a good job when it comes to customer service. And a recent study reveals that AI will eventually impact 300 million jobs worldwide.
Personally, as a copywriter, I don’t feel conflicted by ChatGPT. This might surprise you but, on the contrary, I feel that it’s a tool that can help me improve my productivity. I see the tool as a way to support me and not as a complete replacement.
In the 30 days that I used the tool, I realized that with its support, I was able to finish more tasks than usual and it also helped me to reduce my workload. That’s because I would ask it to answer something, I would then review the output and I could modify its answer according to my style and opinions, without having to go through the process of starting something from scratch.
Develop your tasks and activities as an educator with this list of AI tools for learning and educational project management
My 30 days with ChatGPT: Rules of the challenge
I decided to create this challenge to test the tool and share my experience in a transparent and objective way. Here’s how I documented it: every day, after completing the 30 minutes of testing, I’d write down what I had done that day in order to compare the first day of use with the last one and analyze if ChatGPT had actually been useful for me.
To carry out this challenge, I wanted to set clear rules for a successful experiment, and in case anyone wanted to attempt to replicate my results:
- I would only use the free version of ChatGPT (Version 3.5 during the challenge.)
- I would use ChatGPT for at least 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive business days.
- Each day, I would ask ChatGPT first for help with the tasks I needed to complete that day.
- If the response from the chatbot wasn’t good enough, I would make a few attempts to refine my prompt until I was satisfied I’d received the best possible response. I allowed myself to study, read articles and guides outside of my 30-minute window.
- I would always verify the response, edit it, and fact-check any claims and references.
- I would also learn from other people (in my team and online) about best uses, how to create better prompts, etc.
- Over time, I would take a more challenging approach, asking it to answer more complex questions and perform more difficult tasks.
- I would use ChatGPT for at least 30 minutes a day. But if I saw it beneficial to use it throughout the day, I would allow myself to it.
- After my 30 minutes, I would spend a couple minutes writing a little recap about my experience of the day, in my own “ChatGPT Diary.”
Throughout the article I have mentioned that ChatGPT can be used for different tasks. At first, I intended to use it as a support for writing. But after starting the challenge, I realized that the tool is not only useful for writing but also for studying, optimizing my work and schedule, and to oversee the completion of my daily tasks.
When I used the AI to support my writing work, every single output the chat gave me was thoroughly reviewed and edited. I also used it to help me with writing ideas, including on trending topics that were relevant to my work and that would allow me to be “looped in” in the technology world. This wasn’t straightforward, but it was possible. While ChatGPT has no memory of events taking place after 2021, I noticed trends and conversations have a cycle, usually around the year.
I asked it to give me calls-to-action (CTAs) for some assignments I had to deliver on social media. At first its answers were basic because I didn’t know how to ask for what I actually wanted. I started to witness the so called “ChatGPT hallucination”—I would get answers that had no coherence and included false information, but written in such a way that they would appear to be. Most of the URL references I requested from it led to inexistent pages or 404 errors.
ChatGPT also helped me greatly when studying languages. It supported me in understanding topics that I didn’t understand, to give me examples so I could see rules in action and where I could use those examples in practical ways. In my opinion, it was useful because as, I said before, I saw it as supporting and reinforcing my studies, and it worked.
Finally, as I wanted to test the tool in different areas, I asked it, for instance, to explain formulas on a spreadsheet, how to organize by names, and filter according to the required request. I did it mainly to eliminate a name that I had repeated in a spreadsheet. Although I only have rudimentary Excel skills, ChatGPT explained the process to me in an accurate and applicable way and I was able to find a solution to my problem.
A glimpse into my ChatGPT diary
Below you can read some excerpts of the experiences I had with the tool, and the prompts I used, starting from day 1.
Help me write some different Calls to Action for a Social Media page. My client is in the educational and tutoring space
Just to test, I asked ChatGPT to help me create the description of an “eye-catching and to-the-point” social media post. Although I liked it, its response required me to ask it several times with refinements before I got an answer that suited my request. I also instructed it to answer in different languages between each request I wrote to it and it was quick to respond.
- Please tell me how to make a report
- Help me writing the intro of a Social Media report for a project
- Help me by writing a conclusion to a report that mentions we have to keep posting and looking for other publicity strategies so that we can continue to see growth in the project
I asked the AI to explain with examples what a social media report consisted of. The answers were clear and I understood them. It gave me something similar to what I searched for on the internet but the examples it provided were unique in the sense that I did not find them anywhere else. Then according to the statistics and social media analysis of the project, I asked for help making the introduction of the report, taking into account that it was about social networks and the name of the project, and I didn’t give any other specification. When it was writing its answer, it said that the project was ecological but this answer clearly didn’t make sense with respect to what I had to do.
I then specified what the project was about and then the introduction of the report made sense.
Finally, I asked it to help me by making the conclusion of the report and to include conditions to continue with the report and continue with the plan.
What events, conferences of education, entrepreneurship or leadership forums are going to take place in Colombia in 2023?
I am working on an advertising campaign. I asked the tool to give me a list of events in Colombia on entrepreneurship for this year. Its response was that it did not have access to future or updated information, which is understandable since it cannot give answers that are not in its database (the model’s parameters go until September 2021.) However, it recommended that I search online and keep an eye out for events as they occur. In this case, the intelligence could not give me an answer but it did have a kind of “solution”
Help me write a personal presentation in Portuguese about myself. The description must include my qualities, talk about my family and my work. My qualities are: organized, responsible and friendly. I live with my family and currently I work as a writer, translator and marketing strategy and planning assistant
I asked the AI to help me write a personal introduction email in a language other than English, that had a brief description of me and talked about my family and my job. At first, the presentation was general, without many items that I wanted it to specify. Then, I added conditions: I gave it the order of what I wanted it to talk about, and also used simple vocabulary so I would not have problems with pronunciation.
You can see that there are some shortcomings with ChatGPT, like asking it to answer a question and getting an apparently correct “hallucination” that would end up being wrong and with made-up data. Or me not knowing how to give it appropriate instructions or conditions. The AI takes prompts literally and, for that reason, it didn’t answer what I wanted it to answer. I just didn’t have as much knowledge at the beginning as I have now.
In that sense, something I want to highlight is the importance of knowing how to write or “engineer” prompts, since the quality of the answer will depend directly on how specific the question is. It’s important to ask the question in detail and to provide as much context as possible. It doesn’t matter if you have to rewrite the question many times or clarify several times. The important thing is to use ChatGPT correctly.
To sum up: What happened on my last day and afterwards
On the last day of my challenge, I instructed it to provide copy options for social networks. Here’s what I wrote on my last day of the challenge:
Help me by writing a creative, persuasive and eye-catching copy to include in the publications for the social media channels of my client. The copy has to invite students in their last semesters and young professionals with valid experience to join the project, which seeks to provide project-based advise and tutoring services
I wanted to ask the tool to help me by writing some copy for social media posts for a recruitment campaign. I explained what the project was about and the stipulation of wanting to invite people to join the team. I liked the first copy it suggested. I used it for the campaign, however I fixed the style and added some other things. I then regenerated the response, but it was almost the same as the first one. Then I asked it to make another one with the same condition and specification but it was still the same answer. Then I decided to change the specification and tell it to “make the copy creative, detailed and persuasive to the people who read the publication.” That’s how the AI gave me other suggestions of copy that helped to accomplish my tasks. I feel that the AI is a great support in optimizing tasks as long as you know how to order what you want.
When comparing day 1 and day 30, in the prompt you can see a preview and detail of what I wanted ChatGPT to answer. Remember that just because AI is fed from a very large database doesn’t mean that it’s going to be accurate with the commands that we give it.
Based on my experience, I believe that the best thing to do is to give yourself the time and space to get to know the tool, to try to understand it so that it’s easier for you to use. By doing this, you will be able to make it accurate with your prompts and what you want it to answer. However, it will not always answer specifically what you want, so it doesn’t matter if you have to write the question many times or regenerate the answer. This is something you should always expect regardless of how much of a “power user” you become. Something else you can do to get other answers is to ask it the same thing in a different way.
As I have emphasized throughout the article, I advise you to see ChatGPT as a support tool, not a replacement. Don’t settle for superficiality and what the AI always answers. Don’t let this tool take away your questioning ability and investigative spirit. Learn to use it to your advantage without relying excessively on it.
So what happens now? It’s your turn! We would love it if you take the rules of this challenge and apply it on your own life. Use it, get to know it, and learn from it for 30 days. Then share your experience with us! You can use ChatGPT, or start looking for a tool that you believe has the potential to support you with your daily tasks. Just as I wanted to document and share my experience, we would love to read yours.
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