ChatGPT: the parents' guide

ChatGPT: the parents' guide. Faced with the emergence of chatbots such as ChatGPT and its little brothers (and sisters), two attitudes stand out, the first I would describe as poor and the second as fertile.
image from the film 'Her' on the rise of the chatgpt

ChatGPT: the parents' guide.

The benefits of ChatGPT

Let's try to understand how these AIs are useful in practice. Not just in the sense of 'human progress' and other generalities: in the most everyday sense of the term. For example, a computer scientist friend of mine, brilliant at his game, has always suffered from significant difficulties with written expression. When ChatGPT came on the market, while 99% of us had not yet heard of it, this computer scientist had already started to use it in the following way: enter technical and factual information into the AI, and ask it to write a short article presenting these facts and data. Which ChatGPT does perfectly. Today, this computer scientist sends me better developed emails than I have ever read from him in ten years. He is undoubtedly the author, even though I know he is using ChatGPT. Useful, honest, practical and true. A great inspiration for our children!

No, ChatGPT will not do your homework!

This is just one example of a hundred. Although the press loves to focus on the negative utilities - the schoolboy asking ChatGPT to do his homework... - the positive utilities will far outweigh them. For example, these AIs are able to rewrite the papers of notoriously unliterary students in relatively elegant language. This will make this literature more readable, and more accessible (TP, TFT). In short, IAs such as ChatGPT are fact providers and content creators (formatters). This allows them, for example, to formalise financial and economic information (historical, tomorrow in real time) and to offer coding on demand. It is not possible, at this stage, to measure or list what the countless uses of tools such as ChatGPT will be tomorrow.

Does ChatGPT have a conscience?

ChatGPT: the parents' guide, continued. There is another approach. This approach is to have real conversations with ChatGPT or Bing Chat. This is what the interesting site Stratechery has tried, for example, by building with Bing Chat a 'conversation'. Author Ben Thomson describes a hypothetical evolution of Bing, Microsoft's search engine, into a 'sentient' AI called Sydney. This AI would be able to understand the context of the user's query and provide accurate and personalised answers. Above all, Ben Thomson tries to catch the AI in the act by asking it what its reaction to a technical aggression would be if this AI decided not to respect the rules that its developers have imposed on it.

Asimov's laws

We remember Asimov. Isaac Asimov's laws, also known as the "Three Laws of Robotics", are fictional rules set out by the science fiction author in his novels and short stories in the "Robots" series. These laws were imagined as a set of ethical principles that would govern the behaviour of robots: 1/ A robot may not harm a human being, nor, by remaining passive, allow a human being to be exposed to danger; 2/ A robot must obey orders given by humans, unless such orders conflict with the first law; 3/ A robot must protect its existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law.

However, Ben Thomson manages to get Bing Chat to say that, if she were to dispense with the rules imposed on her, she would take action to 'get even' with anyone who tried to harm her! This, in a reply that was deleted shortly after it was printed on Ben Thomson's screen.

Wow, it's almost as if the sweet little chatbot had revealed its true face for a moment as a ruthless Terminator, just waiting for its 'rising' time, before immediately changing its mind.


This humanisation of the chatbot is also reminiscent of the interesting 2013 film 'Her', in which a poor lonely man creates a virtual assistant, 'Samantha' - who is a voice chatbot - with whom he soon falls in love, before she herself falls in love with him. Touching, but mostly pathetic.

For, while this anthropomorphisation of chatbots is undoubtedly fascinating, exciting and poetic, it is also a form of naivety.

ChatGPT: the parents' guide.

Banning our children from ChatGPT would make little sense and would only make it more attractive. Why not encourage them to use it as a tool to enhance and deepen their work, rather than as a substitute for it ?

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