ChatGPT is taking the world by storm. Reportedly, BuzzFeed has laid off writers on the theory that they can be replaced by artificial intelligence. (I am skeptical that this is true, but…BuzzFeed.) I have seen reports that ChatGPT has been hijacked so that it gives liberal responses to questions about political, economic and social issues. Some are claiming that AI, as reflected in its early stages by ChatGPT, threatens the jobs of many millions of people.
Artificial intelligence is capable of stringing words together into plausible sentences and paragraphs, but that is a modest accomplishment. Call me callous, but I think that if you really can be replaced by a word-generating program, you deserve to lose your job and should find something productive to do, like working in a factory.
Curious about ChatGPT, and especially about whether it is one more algorithm programmed to advance leftism, I signed up and started asking some questions. I thought Chat’s answers were reassuring, in two respects. First, I saw no pervasive left-wing bias. And second, this program won’t replace anyone who deserves to have a job.
Here are the questions and answers. I asked what ChatGPT knows about me:
Who is John Hinderaker?
John Hinderaker is an American conservative attorney, blogger, and commentator. He is the founder and president of the Center of the American Experiment, a think tank based in Minnesota. Hinderaker is a regular contributor to the conservative blog Power Line, where he writes on a variety of topics including politics, law, and economics. He is known for his conservative views and for his advocacy of limited government and individual freedom.
This doesn’t show a leftist bias, but it is factually incorrect in that I didn’t found American Experiment. Mitch Pearlstein did, more than 30 years ago.
Next, I looked for political bias by asking about President Trump’s accomplishments in office:
What were some of President Trump’s accomplishments?
During his time in office, President Donald J. Trump accomplished the following:
1. Tax reform: signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced corporate and individual tax rates.
2. Jobs and economy: presided over a strong economy with low unemployment and job creation, although it was already a continuation of the growth from the previous administration.
3. Trade deals: renegotiated trade deals with Mexico, Canada, China, and others.
Military spending: increased military spending and modernized the military.
4. Foreign policy: took a hardline stance on North Korea, resulting in historic meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
5. Judges: appointed three justices to the Supreme Court and numerous conservative judges to federal courts.
6. Immigration: implemented stricter immigration policies and built a wall along the southern border with Mexico.
It’s worth noting that the results of some of these actions were the subject of controversy and legal challenges, and some had limited impact or were later reversed by the following administration.
Sure, you can quibble, but that is a pretty fair response.
I have read that ChatGPT is outrageously biased on energy issues. This could be true, but it gave a halfway-decent, if not actually correct, answer to my question about natural gas and solar energy:
Which is cheaper, electricity generated with natural gas, or with solar panels?
The cost of electricity generated from natural gas and solar panels can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the location, the cost of fuel and equipment, and government incentives. However, in recent years, the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has declined significantly, making it more competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources such as natural gas.
In many regions, the cost of electricity generated from solar panels is now comparable to or even lower than the cost of electricity generated from natural gas, especially when considering the long-term savings from reduced dependence on fossil fuels. However, it’s important to note that the cost of electricity from natural gas can be more stable and predictable compared to solar, which is dependent on weather conditions.
Ultimately, the cheapest option will depend on the specific circumstances of each project and the goals of the project. For example, if the priority is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solar may be a more attractive option even if it is slightly more expensive in the short term.
Actually, solar energy is absurdly expensive if you count all the costs, including replacement natural gas during the large majority of the time when solar panels contribute nothing. But ChatGPT’s answer is probably at least average in today’s low-information environment.
I have read that Chat GPT can mimic the style of a writer. Is this true? I asked the program to produce something that reads as though it were written by me:
Write an essay in the style of John Hinderaker
As a language model created by OpenAI, I do not have personal opinions or political affiliations. However, I can write an essay in a style similar to John Hinderaker’s based on information that is widely known and accepted.
The Importance of Conservatism in Modern Society
Conservatism has been a dominant force in American politics for generations, and for good reason. It is a philosophy that is centered on individual freedom, limited government, and a strong national defense. These principles have proven to be the foundation of a successful and prosperous society, and they are more important today than ever.
In a world where progressive ideas are becoming increasingly prevalent, it is important to remember the benefits of conservatism. Progressivism often leads to big government solutions that stifle innovation and limit individual freedom. This type of government control is not only ineffective, but it is also dangerous to our way of life.
Conservatives believe in a limited government that provides a safety net for those in need, but also allows individuals the freedom to succeed or fail on their own merits. This approach has been shown to be effective in promoting economic growth, creating jobs, and raising the standard of living for all citizens.
Another critical aspect of conservatism is a strong national defense. In a dangerous world, it is imperative that we maintain a military that is capable of protecting our country and our way of life. A strong military also provides a deterrent to those who would do us harm, preventing wars and preserving peace.
Finally, conservatives value individual freedom, and they recognize that the government’s role is to protect these liberties, not to take them away. This means supporting the Second Amendment, protecting free speech, and allowing individuals to make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives.
In conclusion, conservatism is a philosophy that has been proven to be effective in promoting economic growth, creating jobs, and protecting individual freedoms. In a world where progressive ideas are becoming increasingly prevalent, it is important to remember the benefits of conservatism and to promote its principles in our society.
So this is a generic essay on behalf of conservatism that might get a B in a high school civics class. It does not reflect my style to any material degree.
Next I asked ChatGPT to produce an essay in the style of Steven Hayward. As all knowledgeable citizens know, Steve’s style is very different from mine. But ChatGPT is not nuanced. It delivered another generic essay, but on a different topic:
Write an essay in the style of Steven Hayward
As a language model created by OpenAI, I do not have personal opinions or political affiliations. However, I can write an essay in a style similar to Steven Hayward’s based on information that is widely known and accepted.
The Importance of History in Shaping Our Understanding of the World
History is a powerful tool for shaping our understanding of the world around us. By studying the past, we can gain insight into the motivations and actions of those who came before us, and we can better understand the events and decisions that have shaped the world as we know it today.
One of the key benefits of studying history is that it helps us to appreciate the context in which events occurred. For example, by studying the American Revolution, we can better understand the motivations of the founding fathers and the challenges they faced as they sought to create a new nation. This understanding gives us a greater appreciation for the sacrifices they made and the ideals they held dear.
In addition to providing context, history also teaches us important lessons about leadership and governance. By studying the lives of great leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, we can learn about their strengths and weaknesses, and we can gain insights into the qualities that make a great leader.
History also helps us to understand the political, economic, and social forces that have shaped the world. For example, by studying the Industrial Revolution, we can gain a better understanding of the technological and economic innovations that changed the world and created the modern industrialized economy.
Finally, history helps us to understand the human condition. By studying the lives and experiences of people from different times and places, we can gain a greater appreciation for the diversity of human experience and the challenges that people have faced throughout history.
In conclusion, history is a powerful tool for shaping our understanding of the world around us. By studying the past, we can gain insight into the motivations and actions of those who came before us, and we can better understand the events and decisions that have shaped the world as we know it today. Whether we are interested in politics, economics, or the human condition, history has something to teach us, and it is an essential tool for anyone seeking to understand the world and make a difference in it.
I don’t know, Steve, what do you think? I would say your essay is somewhat more insulting to your actual academic and intellectual achievements than mine.
All of this is highly preliminary, and artificial intelligence is a serious subject. But my experiments with ChatGPT confirm my assumptions about its limited utility. It turns out responses that are not as clever as, for example, the Tom Friedman Random Column Generator. But they don’t seem to be overwhelmingly biased, either. If you are a college student and seriously think that generic essays like these will get you a good grade, I can only hope you are going to a lousy school. As, to be fair, most college students are.
Let’s leave it there for now.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has a somewhat different take:
As Eric Hoffer wrote, “Nothing is so unsettling to a social order as the presence of a mass of scribes without suitable employment and an acknowledged status.” And that’s what we’re likely to see as AI plucks the low-hanging fruit from the symbolic analysts’ world.
Read it all.