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We Are All ChatGPT

You can barely open the internet or turn on the TV without someone talking about ChatGPT and other generative AI programs. In the last month, Google alone has indexed 120 news articles. That means someone is posting an article on average once every 6 hours.

Remove the one month filter and you get more than 4,000,000 results. As I write, it's been 135 days since ChatGPT launched. That's 29,629 articles a day and 1,234 articles an hour. Nearly 21 articles a minute.

That's just online news articles — that doesn't include TV and radio coverage or social media and other internet conversations.

A full Google search for ChatGPT yields "about 972,000,000 results." At the rate of one minute per results page, it would take 675,000 days — approximately 1,849 years — just to read the search result pages. Not the articles, just the results pages.

So much of the conversation around ChatGPT centers around fear or outrage. "ChatGPT is going to steal my job!" "ChatGPT 'hallucinates' (confidently gives wrong answers with 'citations' and 'facts' that don't exist)." "ChatGPT scraped the internet, so it's stealing people's ideas without asking or citing."

It's the same with AI art generators. "That AI art generator learned from my art and created something different based on it without my permission!" "AI does a terrible job of making hands!" "AI makes creepy faces!"

Guess what? So do you.

ChatGPT hallucinates? So you've never confidently asserted something was fact, so certain you remembered it correctly, only to have to walk it back when someone fact checks you? If you're an artist, you've never created art inspired by anyone from van Gogh to Warhol? You didn't draw comics when you were a kid trying to learn how to draw?

Let's say you design graphics. You've never created something with color blocked squares inspired by Mondrian? Done something in the style of Renoir? Created an ad about connecting with members using a carefully cropped image of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam? (True story.)

This is not to say that the images that are clearly direct copies of something on the internet, or any direct plagiarism is okay — those need to be stopped. And I suspect they will over time.

But everything you say, everything you write, everything you create is all influenced by every scrap of input you've experienced in your life. All of the books you've read, TV and movies, internet pages and discussions, conversations, seminars, webinars, podcasts, art museums — everything that gets put into your brain fuels what comes out of it, even the mistakes.

You are ChatGPT.

You're just the beta version.

ChatGPT, like all generative AI, thinks like you (albeit a really well-read 2-year-old you). It takes all of the things it has learned and gives you answers and songs and poems and stories and scripts.

It just does it a lot faster than you.

That can be intimidating. It can also be a little scary. History is littered with stories of giant leaps in technology. Ever heard of the Luddites? Although the term is now synonymous with people who avoid technology, the actual Luddites were stocking croppers so concerned about machines taking over their jobs that they went out and destroyed 800 of the machines in a month.

It didn't matter. The machines prevailed because the machines and the croppers could do the exact same thing. The machines were just faster and cheaper.

Advances in technology always bring new jobs, just not always as fast as the advances. People aren't running to add "ChatGPT whisperer" to their job skills just yet.

But we've survived amazing leaps in technology and adapted just fine. I still remember coding all the html for websites by hand in notepad and uploading the file to get each page up, which is about as relevant now as people who set all the letters in a printing press a hundred years ago.

The secret to surviving change is not attacking it. It's to embrace it. Don't think of ChatGPT as an evil automaton here to take your job. Think of it as a green intern, full of knowledge and ready to help you move forward faster than ever.

Working together with artificial intelligence can create whole new worlds faster than we used to be able to make a phone call.

We are ChatGPT, and it's time to embrace it.

A sketch of a cyborg where the left half is fully human, and the right half is fully robot
Image created using DALL-E

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