A Digital Immigrant and Chat GPT The story of a new and complex friendship

In the last few months, like anyone who is a bit interested in technology I guess, I’ve been playing quite a bit with ChatGPT. It started with tests and questions, and ended with the tool becoming my secret advisor in a variety of tasks. Drafting of official emails, proofreading and style of documents in English, consultation regarding marketing studies, creation of work paths in the field of marketing, competitor research. On the more hardcore aspects of my work, he assisted me in writing code. I’m not that good at Python, and ChatGPT has become my go-to guide. He helped me solve problems that otherwise I would have sat for hours looking for a solution. I also used it in creative fields – developing plot outlines for books, creating derivatives for stories, creating FanFic in various fields and more. The highlight was this week when I created an internal version for myself based on price quotes that I issued for clients over the past five years – to see if I could create an internal database that could be consulted on pricing and see what it says (the answer by the way is yes, but it’s not accurate enough because it was the ChatGPT V2.0).

A moment of confession. Most of my work is alone. I am required to make decisions, research areas, guide others, and I have no one to consult. Most of my professional life I have been in management positions, and the position of a manager is a solitary one. From time to time I feel comfortable consulting with one or another colleagues, but for most of the small daily issues, I have no one to talk to. The same with writing. Every writer knows that writing is a long, lonely, journey. Sometimes you attend writing groups, ad-hoc circles of writers who meet for a brief moment only to disband. The situation is that the need for reliable, fast and certain information becomes critical. Banal questions like – what is the correct process? How do I approach this or that problem? What are the indicators of success or failure? These are questions that either you learn on your own or from others. That’s where ChatGPT came into my life.

My ability to approach ChatGPT with an open question is something I had to learn. It is customary to talk to digital immigrants and digital natives when dealing with new technologies. We are all migrating to the reality called ChatGPT. We have become accustomed to a very particular internet. Internet where you have to refine searches, get down to particular questions. Hopefully the various engines will learn our content preferences enough and maybe the feed will be normal. Maybe. Sometimes it hits, often not. Depends on how much we use. ChatGPT requires me to learn a new skill – dialog with a machine. An open, relaxed conversation that is aimed at what I want. A machine that learns from question to question my style, the way I approach the problem, and from my reference to the answers, refines its next answers. As someone who loves to learn new things, this is an exciting event.

As a perpetual digital nomad I know that learning is a hurdle I must cross or I will be left behind. It’s almost a lifetime experience. I had to get used to PC, cable TV, internet, mobile phones, touch screen, AR, VR, sensors, NFC, and now a new form of dialogue with a machine. There is some grim assumption that with the advent of new technology, everyone will be able to adapt to it quickly. But this is not true. How many will fail to face this obstacle? Think of the adult who asks you for help with the vending machine of the licensing office. For the woman who asks you for help entering the bank, what to press. And these are more simple interfaces. I can’t help but wonder how many people will get lost in this new ocean of dialog with a machine. As it goes on and becomes more complex, more precise, it is possible and it will be an intuitive experience. But maybe not. Having a conversation today with Siri or Google Home is a complex experience. As the conversation models become more convenient to use, it is possible and it will be easier, and it is also possible not.

And that leads to the question of who are you talking to. Not long ago, one of the Israeli AI companies released an animated character model that is able to speak the text that ChatGPT issues. An example and model for Uncanny Valley. First of all, a white and red avatar was chosen, an act that more than anything symbolizes the cultural reference point of the creators. Second, she is not human enough, to the point of causing mild discomfort. Who said I was even interested in talking to her? And in general, who said I want to talk to a graphic avatar? This is the difference between a book and a movie. The lack of a visual persona actually makes it easier for me to use ChatGPT. The personification makes it something less accessible and daunting.

And that brings me back to my personal experience. As someone whose work is mostly solitary, ChatGPT has become a kind of hidden colleague. A quiet friend or maybe a girlfriend, who helps when needed, who helps test ideas and give advice. It violates professional solitude to some extent. He answers my questions and helps me through the process. Counselor, good fairy, call it whatever you want. From this point of view I understand the huge value this tool has in my life. On the other hand, I know that I’m not there yet in terms of my use of it. It will be a journey that will mostly be learning to overcome the experience of migrating to this new dialogue with the machine. For my ability to get the best answers from him, the most appropriate assistance for my needs. And above all, perhaps more than anything, to get used to the fact that I talk to her software, say thank you, hello, excellent idea, compliment her, and treat her like a human, when she is not.

I am full of longing for the future. There is no other way to describe it.