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  • Writer's pictureGraham

I asked ChatGPT about the future – I was startled by what it said

People in my LinkedIn feed have been wetting themselves over the realistic conversations they’ve been having with a cutting-edge chatbot called ChatGPT.

Released at the end of November, ChatGPT is the latest creation from the non-profit OpenAI Inc., and it’s WAAAAYYYY more impressive than any chatbot you’ve encountered while trying to do your banking online.

Scarily so.

Already, doctors are worrying about what’s going to happen to their jobs, and educators about if their students get ChatGPT to write their papers for them.

And this on top of an AI-generated pop group that is just incredibly…. real: [ETERNITY] 이터니티'DTDTGMGN' MV

(Can you tell they’re not real? I mean, I’m asking myself, are they REALLY not real?)

So I couldn’t resist asking ChatGPT some questions about the meaning of life.

In fact, that’s the question I started with. Here are some excerpts:

What’s the meaning of life?

As with most of the questions I asked, it came up with a list of tips or possibilities:

  • The meaning of life is to find happiness and fulfillment.

  • The meaning of life is to achieve success and make a positive impact.

  • The meaning of life is to follow a religious or spiritual path.

  • The meaning of life is to find our place in the universe.

What makes me happy?

It’s clearly been keeping up with its pop psychology reading, and gave some suggestions:

  • Being around people you love and care about.

  • Doing activities you enjoy.

  • Accomplishing goals and achieving success.

  • Having a sense of control and autonomy.

Why do I feel worried about the future?

Another listicle, which I’ve abbreviated here:

  • Uncertainty about the future.

  • Fear of failure.

  • Lack of control.

  • Negative experiences in the past.

  • Negative thoughts and beliefs.

What should I be worried about?

It provided a list of things I could be worried about, but in each case said it was pointless to worry about it, concluding:

“Overall, it is important to recognize that not everything is worth worrying about, and excessive worry can be harmful to your mental health and well-being. It is important to focus on the things that are within your control and take action to address any problems or challenges, rather than worrying about them.”

How can I think more positively about the future?

The list of tips included:

“Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to let go of negative thoughts and focus on the present, which can help you feel more positive and optimistic about the future.”

It then concluded with advice in its parental tone:

“Remember, thinking positively about the future takes practice and effort, but it can have many benefits for your mental health and overall well-being. By implementing these tips, you can start to think more positively about the future and look forward to what it holds.”

How should I choose a career?

It came up with a handy five-point plan:

  1. Think about your interests and passions.

  2. Consider your skills and strengths.

  3. Research different careers and job opportunities.

  4. Talk to people who are already working in the field.

  5. Consider your long-term goals.

“Remember, choosing a career is a big decision, and it's important to take the time to research and think about what will be the best fit for you. It's okay if you don't have everything figured out right away – it's a process and you can always make changes and adjustments as you go.”

How can I find meaning in my career?

A list of tips, including:

“Consider the impact you want to have. What difference do you want to make in the world? Consider how your career can help you make a positive impact and contribute to something larger than yourself.”

What does it mean to have a vision?

“Having a vision means having a clear and compelling idea of what you want to achieve or create in the future. A vision is a long-term, future-oriented goal or aspiration that provides direction and inspiration. It is a mental picture of what you want to accomplish and the positive impact you want to have on the world.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Where can I find my mojo?

"Mojo is a term used to refer to one's confidence, charisma, or enthusiasm. It is not a physical object that can be found in a specific location. Mojo is something that comes from within and can be cultivated through positive thinking and self-confidence. It is also important to take care of yourself physically and mentally in order to maintain your mojo. Some people find that exercise, meditation, or other activities help them feel more confident and positive. Ultimately, finding your mojo is a personal journey that may involve trying different things and experimenting to see what works best for you."

When asked if it had mojo, it replied:

"I am not capable of feeling confident, charismatic, or enthusiastic."

What does the future hold?

A list of some thought-provoking possibilities:

  • A future in which technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, leading to significant changes in how we live, work, and interact with each other.

  • A future in which global economic and political systems are transformed, leading to new opportunities and challenges.

  • A future in which climate change becomes a major crisis, requiring urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing environment.

  • A future in which humanity makes significant progress in addressing global challenges such as poverty, inequality, and disease.

  • A future in which humanity expands into space and establishes colonies on other planets or moons.

If you’ve ever played around with Replika, you know how spooky these chatbots can get. But ChatGPT is on another level. It just churns out plausible and reasonably useful chunks of information without so much as a second lost to consider the question.

I finally asked it to tell me a joke, and clearly humour isn’t its strong point:

“Hmm...something seems to have gone wrong. Maybe try me again in a little bit.”

Seems we humans will be able to keep the robots guessing if we use humour to communicate with each other.

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