I had read a little about the so called Artificial Intelligence (AI) app called ChatGPT but I had never looked into it. I had heard that school kids and college students were using it to write essays. A form of cheating no doubt. And that is what many of the news reports I had heard were saying.
Last weekend I decided to investigate for myself, with the help of my son Daniel who seemed to know all about it: Typical eh? After setting up an account we had a bit of fun with it.
It’s a bit of a long post this due to the story attached, but please bear with it. You may even have a good old laugh…
Trying it out…
First of all we tried it out by asking it to write a 500 word essay about some historical event. Clearly it can handle such tasks as there are plenty of facts out there already on famous people and places. I still wouldn’t say it was a great essay but you could certainly use it as a starting point and then maybe ‘tart it up’ a little.
Next I asked it to write about a far less known series of events surrounding two murders in 1930s Sydney. I knew all about it as I had just read a (well researched) book on the subject. ChatGPT failed miserably I have to say. It came back with what can only be described as lists of people and a few bullet points about them. Very poor but hardly surprising. The internet is not exactly littered with information on the topic I chose. So in the more obscure subjects ChatGPT is really not the all powerful application some people think it is.
Then, Daniel asked it to write a story. And what it came back with was actually very funny. In fact it had us in tears of laughter. If you know about super heroes and villains and Marvel comic characters, then you will fully appreciate this one. Here it is…
The Super Villain Story – By ChatGPT
This was Dani’s remit for ChatGPT:
“create a story about a super-villain called Smells who stinks everyone out.”
And here is the short story that ChatGPT came up with:
Once upon a time in the bustling metropolis of Scentopia, there arose a supervillain of truly foul proportions. He was known far and wide as “Smells,” a malevolent figure whose sinister power was not in brute strength or advanced technology, but in his ability to stink everyone out.
Smells, whose real name was Stanley Stenchfield, had not always been a villain. In fact, he had once been a brilliant chemist who had dedicated his life to creating the most exquisite fragrances the world had ever known. He had a natural talent for mixing scents and an unmatched passion for the art of perfumery.
However, one fateful day, disaster struck. An experiment in his laboratory went horribly wrong, causing a catastrophic chemical explosion that left Stanley forever altered. He emerged from the wreckage with a new and horrifying power—he could emit odors of such nauseating potency that they could incapacitate anyone within a mile radius.
Stanley Stenchfield, now Smells, embraced his newfound abilities with malevolent glee. He donned a dark, hooded cloak and a mask to hide his disfigured face, becoming the terror of Scentopia. His first act of villainy was to unleash his stench upon the annual Flower Festival, an event that celebrated the city’s beautiful floral displays.
As the citizens gathered to admire the vibrant blossoms, Smells approached the heart of the festival. With a wicked grin, he released a noxious cloud of odors that turned the joyous occasion into a nightmarish ordeal. People gagged, choked, and fled in terror, their eyes watering as they tried to escape the relentless assault on their senses.
News of Smells’ heinous act spread like wildfire, and the city was plunged into a state of panic. The mayor called for an emergency meeting of Scentopia’s superheroes, the Aromantics, a team of heroes with olfactory-themed powers.
The Aromantics consisted of three members: Floral Fury, who could control plant growth; Perfume Prince, who could create pleasant scents to counteract foul odors; and Breathmint, who had the power to purify the air. Together, they vowed to put an end to Smells’ reign of olfactory terror.
The Aromantics tracked down Smells to his lair, a hidden underground laboratory where he continued to concoct his toxic stenches. A fierce battle ensued, as Floral Fury used her plants to ensnare Smells, Perfume Prince countered his stenches with delightful fragrances, and Breathmint purified the air to weaken Smells’ power.
Smells fought fiercely, but the combined might of the Aromantics proved too much for him to handle. As the battle raged on, a brilliant idea struck Perfume Prince. He used his powers to create an overwhelming scent of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, a scent so irresistible that even Smells couldn’t resist.
Distracted by the mouthwatering aroma, Smells was momentarily incapacitated, allowing the Aromantics to subdue him. With their combined efforts, they managed to contain him in a specially designed, airtight chamber that nullified his stench.
Scentopia was saved, and Smells was incarcerated in a maximum-security facility specially equipped to neutralize his powers. Over time, the former perfumer’s heart softened as he realized the pain he had caused. He began to use his knowledge of scents to create beautiful fragrances for the city, helping to heal the scars of his past.
And so, the supervillain known as Smells was redeemed, becoming a force for good in Scentopia once more, all while teaching the city that even the most potent of powers could be harnessed for positive change when guided by a compassionate heart.
I was quite impressed with ChatGPT – and I am not easily impressed! The speed at which it works right before your eyes is superb and entertaining to watch (well at least for a few times, then it gets boring as these things do).
If you want an essay written on a subject that is widely documented on the internet such as famous people or well-known events then it actually works quite well. For me it is still not good enough to hand in an essay like this at school, and a half decent English/History/Geography teacher (are there any now?) would spot it right away. But it does provide the basis of a good essay needing only a few tweeks. In such cases, to do that correctly would require reading what ChatGPT has produced and working on it accordingly. So in that case it is not unlike doing all the research yourself. Not quite the end of the world, but still definitely a little like cheating.
Asking ChatGPT about something just that little bit more obscure however, is a complete waste of time. At least from the evidence of my little experiment.
Where ChatGPT really comes into its own is in writing songs, poems or silly stories. It works well enough at this and is even fun (for a while). It’s easy to see how kids could spend a lot of time playing with it in this context. The short story above is – I thought – quite funny. But as always you need to try these things yourself to see if it works for you – even on a funny short story…
Stanley Stenchfield though… Hahaa.. That was enough for me. And so in line with Marvel super hero/villain names with the first and last names (often) starting with the same letter. If you don’t know, then check some of them out… Peter Parker, Curt Connors, Reed Richards, Green Goblin, Bruce Banner etc etc…
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