On ChatGPT, Duplicability, and Citizen Development

Thoughts on the AI tool that's all the rage today.
Dec | 7 | 2022

Dec | 7 | 2022
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ChatGPT is having its moment. Over the past few days, I’ve read a few articles about it. (This one from The Atlantic on the death of the college essay was particularly interesting.) This morning, I decided to give it a try.

I typed in the following query: What are the benefits of citizen development?

The Results

ChatGPT quickly generated the following response:

A bit generic to my liking, but certainly not terrible, as my friend Josh Bernoff recently pointed out. It’s certainly an order of magnitude better than what one university president wrote to start his book. Note that it doesn’t generate any sources. That is, the reader is just taking it on faith that these claims are true.

I was curious to see if ChatGPT would generate the same list two seconds after it created the first one. Pasting in the same query, ChatGPT presented the following text:

Is there overlap? Of course, but what happened to “the improved user experience” from the first one? If it’s one of the top-five benefits at 5:50 a.m., then I fail to see how it could cease to be one just a few seconds later. Beyond that, I take issue with the notion that citizen development is fundamentally more secure than traditional software development. Says who?

Simon Says

ChatGPT is certainly interesting, but I won’t be using it in a meaningful way—at least for now. Three reasons come to mind. First, I enjoy the process of writing far too much and, at the risk of being immodest, think that I produce superior content than a glorified web search. Second, ChatGPT can’t produce original and compelling case studies—one of the four pillars of good business writing. Finally, I’ve got morals, unlike ChatGPT.


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  1. Jess

    It’s funny… I tend to shake my head at those who haven’t automating their work yet, but I’ve explored very little AI.

    I see an AI movement in the author space to ‘write a 250 page book in one week’ and am super curious how creatives will be impacted by this long term. Like most things, I think those who start now will get the biggest results. Curious how this will increase or decrease the value of ‘human’ art.


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