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AI and how we work

AI has so many uses. We (and AI) will continue to invent more of these over time.

It has been a while since I sent out a newsletter because after I recovered from an illness, there was so much work that I did not have time to write one.  This is the first of a series about how we can use AI for writing and research.

Is AI new?

AI already exists and we have been using it for years. I already use a kind of AI in my PerfectIt software which checks for consistency. There are positives and negatives to using AI just like there are positives and negatives to using the Internet. Because so much has been said about this already I won’t repeat that here.

AI for research writing

You have probably already read or heard stories about ChatGPT, the open-source AI for writing, and Google’s equivalent, Bard. I heard about someone who apparently uses ChatGPT to write her essays, including all references. This is probably less true than it seems at first. At least some references for assignments need to be from the course the student actually takes, before the student apparently researches more widely to include other references. This means the student would either need to feed the course into the AI or supplement what the AI writes with information from the course.

University and school students are doing assignments which involve evaluating the best ways to use ChatGPT. This tells their teachers how these students will use this AI, which is very helpful for the teachers (and the students).

AI for writing is being used to develop blogs for businesses (but not the one you are now reading). An artist I know writes some text about each of her new artworks, then feeds this into Chat GPT to improve it. Business owners use it to draft emails to clients. Writers use it to choose titles for their writing.

I definitely encourage the use of AI for ethical purposes and to reduce workloads but we need to know its limits. More basically, we need to have the means to assess whether it’s doing a good job or not. This is currently being investigated and as AI evolves, it will continue to be assessed, probably by AI.

Will AI eventually completely replace most humans?

As an editor, I have wondered if AI like ChatGPT or Bard can edit a document as well as a professional human. At a recent conference of the Institute of Professional Editors, Martin Delahunty, former global director of Springer Nature, stated that while AI won’t replace editors, editors using AI might replace those editors who do not.

Some people have been very quick to criticise the use of AI such as ChatGPT and Bard. They state that eventually so much will have been written by AI that AI itself will end up imitating these other pieces written by AI. The end point of this is that humans will become unnecessary. This is the basic existential threat that some commentators see in using AI.

But humans will still be researching, publishing and creating ideas, and probably with other humans as well as AI.