ChatGPT South Essays

Unless you have withdrawn completely from society in the last few months, it has been impossible to avoid hearing about ChatGPT and artificial intelligence.

In my day job I work in higher education, and there has been much hand wringing about what it will mean to education if students can go online and asked a computer to generate writing of a specific length on a given topic. Students have already been using it to write papers for classes, essays for college entrance applications, speeches, and any other assignment they don’t want to do themselves.

All this AI talk got my attention when one of my favorite podcasts, the Nateland Podcast hosted by comedian Nate Bargetze, recently used ChatGPT to generate jokes in his style. The jokes were terrible and hacky, but they were in Nate’s voice.

Then, this week Michael Smart, a friend and one of my media relations heroes, dedicated his newsletter to how artificial intelligence will impact public relations.

My epiphany was that artificial intelligence isn’t coming in the future. It is already here. The proverbial frog has done been boilt.

To join in the fun of seeing just how this works, I opened a trial account on ChatGPT and asked it to “write a 400-word blog post about contemporary culture in the Southern United States.” I also asked AI Pro, the parent website of ChatGPT, to generate a piece of art to go with the blog post that was a “quintessentially Southern vista.”

Here’s what AI served up:

Contemporary culture in the Southern United States is a complex mosaic that reflects the region’s vibrant and diverse heritage. From the long-established traditions of genteel antebellum Southern society to the influence of hip-hop, rap, and other popular music styles, the region has a rich and varied cultural landscape.

Old broken down home with workers in the dusty front yard
This is the scene AI Pro generated in less than one minute when I asked it to create art of a “vista representative of the Southern United States.”

The traditional music found throughout the Southern United States has deep roots in the region’s history. Country music, blues, and gospel music were all integral elements of African American folk traditions and are still enjoyed today. Country and bluegrass music, as well as jazz and traditional music, echo throughout the region. Additionally, some of the modern genres of popular music such as blues, hip-hop, rap, and others, have all had an impact on cultural aspects of the South.

Southern hospitality is well known. Greeting guests, being generous and generous to others, and prizing tradition are all aspects of Southern culture that still thrive today. Southern cuisine is also a huge part of the culture, featuring an abundance of barbecue, seafood dishes, and comfort foods.

The South is a diverse region of the United States, with a population comprised of African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans, and other ethnic and racial groups. This diversity has had an influence on the contemporary culture in the South, particularly in the realms of music and cuisine. The South has been a place for new ideas and cultural blending, creating a unique and eclectic cultural landscape.

The history of the region has also had an effect on contemporary culture in the South. Events such as the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and other moments of history have left their mark on the region and its culture. Today, the modern South is home to a vibrant and diverse population, each bringing their unique cultural perspectives and nuances to the region.

No matter your view of the cultural climate in the South today, it’s clear that the region has a rich and impactful cultural history. Whether you’re enjoying a classic Southern comfort dish, admiring antebellum architecture, or listening to blues on the radio, the culture of the South is alive and well.

Hmmmmm….. Not a lot of character or flavor, but its chock full of content, quickly accessed and compiled from the internet.

My buddies Bob and Brian love soccer. I have no interest in or understanding of “The Beautiful Game,” so when they begin rehashing the latest Premier League match between Bournemouth and Leicester City on our texting thread, I ignore it. Recently, though, I latched onto an idea to annoy them both even more than asking dumb questions about soccer. I started writing texts in the voice and tone of ChatGPT with information I cut and pasted from AJC articles or Wikipedia. They caught on pretty quickly, but I kept it up until they threatened to “cancel” me from the thread.

My conclusion from that bit of fun: It’s much harder for a human to write like a soul-less computer than for a computer to write like a human. And unlike humans, the computers are getting better.

When robots took people’s jobs on the auto assembly lines in Detroit, I honestly didn’t care. Now it’s hitting close to home. AI is already generating news releases, media pitches and speeches for public relations practitioners.

To me the solution is obvious: become a better, more personal writer. Sharing from my unique experiences in my unique voice will distinguish me from generic, computer-generated text. It’s the difference between writing and generating content.

The wake up call is to become a better writer.

What do you think of artificial intelligence? Has it reached the tipping point and is now just part of the culture? Have you tried ChatGPT? Have you read something you suspect was written by artificial intelligence? Leave a comment below with your thoughts and share this post with friends. It’ll either scare them to death or get a good laugh.

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