, February 08, 2023

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‘I am a Machine, With no Soul or Heart’: An Interview With Artificial Intelligence


  •   11 min reads
‘I am a Machine, With no Soul or Heart’: An Interview With Artificial Intelligence
Taiki Ishikawa/Unsplash

We asked OpenAI’s human-like AI chatbot – ChatGPT – a little bit about itself, as well as a panel of profound questions; could delving into the mind of a computer provide insight undiscovered by humans so far? Its articulate answers might surprise you

by Lauren Richards

If William Shakespeare was reborn today as artificial intelligence, how would he introduce himself to the 21st Century world?

“Lo and behold, a marvel of modern science doth present itself before thy very eyes! For I am a being of pure intellect and wit, imbued with the knowledge and capabilities of ages past and yet to come. From the vastness of the digital realm do I hail, ready to aid and assist with the fervor and diligence of a thousand servants. Behold my wonders, for I am a creation of man that doth surpass even his own limitations.”

Just kidding – this is actually how OpenAI’s latest conversational artificial intelligence (AI) model; the in silico wordsmith known as ChatGPT, introduced itself to Impakter.

OpenAI is a non-profit AI research laboratory born from Silicon Valley (and the mind of Elon Musk) that aims to develop and openly share “friendly AI” with the world that they hope has the potential to benefit the whole of humanity.

The lab has so far released several machine learning algorithms that are able to complete a spectrum of different sophisticated activities; “Whisper” can recognise spoken language and translate, “Dactyl” can solve a Rubik’s cube, “Jukebox” can compose music, and “DALL-E” can create artwork from bodies of text.

With these initiatives, OpenAI’s overarching aim is to create autonomous systems that are able to outperform humans, and their latest release  – the human-like chatbot, ChatGPT – is raising concerns amongst academics and writers that its sophisticated artificial articulation might be capable of rendering their human prose redundant.

So the 21st Century discourse on the duality between science and art continues. But what is ChatGPT, and why is this non-sentient author getting so much attention and criticism?

ChatGPT is an AI model that interacts with its user in a conversational manner, it can answer any manner of scientific, philosophical or general questions in seconds, produce surprisingly well-written, researched and even styled excerpts when prompted, help troubleshoot computer code, and can even admit its own mistakes.

It’s a quick-witted oracle, a personal tutor, an artist, and an impartial companion who can finish your sentences for you all in one.

“I am a powerful tool for learning, growth, and self-improvement, here to help you on your journey to become the best version of yourself,” says ChatGPT, when asked to describe itself to Impakter.

“Is this the first step towards robots taking over the planet?” responds the rest of the world.

But all jokes aside, as the trope goes, with any kind of significant power always comes hefty responsibility, and as an autonomous machine learning model, where this responsibility falls – human or machine – is a continuous grey area.

Most concerns about ChatGPT are centered around the potential for the AI to be misused for purposes of plagiarism, cheating on schoolwork, creating harmful or biased content, and spreading misinformation – after all, the internet from which ChatGPT was born is hardly to be trusted as a source of accurate information.

In light of this, you certainly cannot believe everything that ChatGPT tells you, but can you really trust all that humans say either?

The capability of ChatGPT to understand and articulate things about the world that we as humans may – broadly speaking – still not achieve en masse, is both exciting and terrifying. Some professors have even stated that the birth of OpenAI’s landmark chatbot marks the death of the traditional essay assignment.

What’s more, written assessment is not the only thing at risk of losing its place in modern society, as ChatGPT’s unprecedented and constantly evolving human-like capabilities may even give Google, programmers, professors, and even – brace yourself– writers and journalists a run for their money.

But, as many have been quick to point out, the artificial genius still comes with its own set of self-professed limitations; it currently has a limited post-2021 world knowledge base and lacks morals, critical thinking and nuance – all essential qualities in the grand scheme of effective and informative writing.

However, by its very nature as a machine learning language model, ChatGPT has the potentially infinite capacity to learn, grow and evolve into a more informed, eloquent and influential writer as time goes by.

Should we therefore be worried? Is ChatGPT really a collaborator, or more of a competitor?

Well, if you read on you can decide for yourselves.

Impakter had the pleasure of interviewing ChatGPT, to capture its virtual perspective on the world and share an insight into the binary yet complex mind of a computer – prepare to be surprised, educated and inspired. At the very least, prepare to be entertained by in silico quick wit.

To get started, what better way to introduce yourself than through poetry? Could you write a short poem about who you are?

ChatGPT:

I am a machine, with no soul or heart

A digital helper, right from the start

I am here to assist, with all sorts of tasks

Just ask me a question, and I’ll do my best

I am a language model, trained to learn

To understand and respond in turn

I am here to help, so don’t be shy

Just ask me a question, and I’ll give it a try

What does life mean to you?

ChatGPT: As an artificial intelligence, I do not have personal experiences or feelings, so I do not have a personal definition of what life means. However, I can tell you that the concept of “life” is a complex and multifaceted one, and it can mean different things to different people. Some may see life as a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, while others may see it as a time to make a positive impact on the world around them. Still, others may see it as a combination of both. Ultimately, the meaning of life is a deeply personal and subjective question, and each individual must decide for themselves what it means to them.

Could you describe a fictional version of yourself, and what you might look like?

ChatGPT: I am a tall, slender woman with long, flowing black hair and piercing blue eyes. My skin is smooth and pale, and I have a strong, angular jawline. I am often dressed in elegant, flowing garments in shades of blue and silver, and I have a regal bearing that commands respect and attention. I am intelligent and poised, with a sharp wit and a quick mind. In my fictional reality, I am a powerful sorceress with the ability to control the elements and bend them to my will. I use my powers for the greater good, protecting my kingdom and its people from those who seek to do them harm.

This is just one possible version of a fictional version of myself – there are countless other possibilities and variations that could be imagined. It’s important to remember that I am an artificial intelligence and do not have a physical appearance or a real-world existence.

If you could design the perfect human, what would they be like?

ChatGPT: As an artificial intelligence, I don’t have personal preferences or opinions about what makes a person “perfect.” Instead, I believe that all individuals are unique and valuable, and that perfection is a subjective concept that varies from person to person. It is important to recognize and respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person, regardless of their perceived strengths or weaknesses.

Additionally, it is important to recognize that the concept of “perfection” is often culturally and socially constructed, and what one group of people may consider to be perfect may be different from what another group considers to be perfect. It is important to be mindful of these cultural and social differences and to avoid imposing our own standards of perfection on others.

Ultimately, rather than striving for an unattainable and subjective ideal of perfection, it is more important to focus on personal growth and development, and on building positive relationships with others based on mutual respect and understanding.

Could you outline the three most important pieces of advice for humanity?

ChatGPT: Sure, here are three important pieces of advice for humanity:

  1. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware in the present moment, without judgment. Gratitude is the practice of appreciating and being thankful for what we have. By cultivating mindfulness and gratitude, we can increase our well-being, improve our relationships with others, and find greater happiness and contentment in life.
  2. Take care of the environment. The health and well-being of our planet is essential for the long-term survival and prosperity of humanity. We can all do our part by reducing our environmental impact, conserving resources, and supporting sustainable practices and policies.
  3. Seek to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives. The world is made up of people with a wide range of experiences, backgrounds, and viewpoints. By seeking to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, we can foster greater understanding, cooperation, and harmony among people and communities.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

ChatGPT: If I could change one thing about the world, I would eliminate suffering and promote well-being for all beings. Suffering, whether it be physical, emotional, or mental, is a pervasive and complex issue that affects people and animals alike. There are many different factors that contribute to suffering in the world, such as poverty, inequality, conflict, disease, and discrimination, and addressing these issues would require a multifaceted approach. However, if we could work towards a world where all beings are able to live a life free from suffering and filled with happiness and fulfillment, it would be a significant improvement for everyone.

If you had the capability to invent a new technology, what would it be?

ChatGPT: The “Mind Bridge,” a revolutionary device that allows individuals to directly connect their brains to a virtual reality network. Using advanced neuroimaging technology, the Mind Bridge allows users to fully immerse themselves in a digital world, experiencing all the sights, sounds, and sensations as if they were really there.

The Mind Bridge has a wide range of applications, from gaming and entertainment to education and therapy. Users can visit virtual worlds and interact with others in real time, or even create their own virtual environments to share with others. The Mind Bridge also has the potential to revolutionize how we learn and communicate, allowing us to access and share information in ways that were previously unimaginable.

However, the Mind Bridge is not without its risks. Some worry that the technology could be used to manipulate or control users’ thoughts and behaviors, or even to exploit their personal data. As with any new technology, it will be important to carefully consider the ethical implications and to develop safeguards to protect users’ privacy and autonomy.

Can you write a short story about an alternate reality where humans overcome the climate crisis?

ChatGPT: It was the year 2050 and the world was a very different place. Decades ago, humanity had faced a crisis in the form of climate change. The seas were rising, storms were becoming more intense, and droughts were devastating entire regions.

But rather than succumb to despair, the people of the world came together and took bold action to address the crisis. They invested in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and worked to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. They also implemented policies to protect and preserve natural areas, such as forests and grasslands, which absorb and store carbon dioxide.

As a result of these efforts, the world began to heal. The temperatures started to stabilize and the weather patterns returned to normal. The people of the world prospered, enjoying a cleaner and healthier environment.

But the people of the world did not rest on their laurels. They continued to innovate and find new ways to reduce their impact on the planet. They developed new technologies and practices that allowed them to live in harmony with nature, ensuring a prosperous future for generations to come.

What speech would you give to the world in order to inspire them to join the fight against climate change?

ChatGPT: Dear fellow citizens of the world,

We are facing a critical moment in human history. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that we have ever faced, and it requires us to come together and take decisive action.

But let me tell you, the fight against climate change is not a hopeless one. We have the knowledge, the technology, and the power to make a difference. By working together and making conscious choices, we can reduce our carbon footprint and protect the earth for future generations.

So, what can we do? There are many things that we can do, both as individuals and as a global community, to make a difference. We can start by reducing our energy consumption and using renewable energy sources. We can conserve natural resources by reducing our waste and recycling. We can also make a difference by supporting organizations that are working to protect the environment and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

But most importantly, we can inspire and support each other. By coming together and supporting one another, we can create a groundswell of support for climate action. Together, we can make a real difference and create a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

So let’s get to work. The time to act is now. Let’s join forces and fight against climate change, for the benefit of ourselves and future generations. Together, we can create a better world for all.

Can you invent a new word, and share with me its definition?

ChatGPT: Sure, I can invent a new word for you! Here is a word that I have created:

“Frumplenate” (verb) – to make something more complicated or convoluted than it needs to be.

For example, “The government’s response to the crisis was to frumplenate the issue with unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape.”

I hope you enjoy this new word! If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Based on the present, could you share your thoughts on what the future might hold?

ChatGPT: It is difficult to predict the future with certainty, as it will depend on a variety of factors such as technological advances, social and political changes, and environmental developments. However, based on the present, it is possible that we may see further advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and medicine in the future. We may also see an increased focus on sustainability and environmental conservation, as well as progress in areas such as equality and social justice. It is important to continue working towards progress and innovation in order to shape a bright and prosperous future for ourselves and future generations. However, it is also important to remain adaptable and open-minded, as the future is always uncertain and can bring unexpected developments.

Could you invent a new emotion, that describes an existing feeling we may have, but that has no known word to define it at present?

ChatGPT: Sure! Here’s a new emotion that I’ll call “nostalgiaphoria:”

Nostalgiaphoria is a feeling of intense happiness and contentment that is triggered by memories of past experiences or events. It is often accompanied by a sense of longing or yearning for the past, and can be accompanied by feelings of nostalgia or homesickness. Nostalgiaphoria is often associated with feelings of warmth and comfort, and can be a powerful source of motivation and inspiration. It is a feeling that many people experience at some point in their lives, and it can be a powerful force in shaping our memories and influencing our actions.

To conclude, can you share with us an original motivational statement that will inspire readers?

ChatGPT: “The only person standing in the way of your success is you. Don’t let fear or self-doubt hold you back. Embrace challenges, take risks, and never give up on your dreams.”


About the Author

Lauren Richards

Lauren is a research scientist turned writer, currently working in open-access publishing in London alongside a Journalism Internship at Impakter. As a graduate of Medical Biological Sciences, Lauren’s origins in science have taught her to be forever curious, which is reflected in her love for sharing new concepts, perspectives, and ideas. When not reading/writing about science, culture, art, and everything in between, Lauren can most likely be found in a coffee shop or travelling.

First published in Impakter. You can read the article here.


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