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ChatGPT is Wickedly Smart

February 10, 2023 Nat Irvin
3-year-old Jorgie taking photos of parade in the street with pink camera

But is it smarter than my 3-year-old granddaughter? And who is Nat Irvin?

Our three-year-old granddaughter, Jorgie Nubois Peters, was born just as the pandemic had begun sweeping the globe. Her parents had to learn quickly to adapt to the new world of working from home, masking up, missing holidays, and getting vaccinated while protecting her and preparing for the future. Unbeknownst to Jorgie, a new kind of technology was emerging in the world, changing the way she would learn, live, and work in the future.

Whereas her Saba (That’s what she calls me) had learned about the world  primarily through books and other media, she would live her life in a world where she would always have access to her very own “Jorgie Bot,” an AI prediction machine, intelligent avatar, that would help guide her heart and mind’s curiosity into the world of an unknown future.

Nat Irvin, as a boy

In this future, she will have her own ChatGPT(x), “Jorgie Bot10.” Jorgie already owns a small robot, so talking with her Jorgie Bot10 would be as natural for her as asking Siri to play Akili and Me, the Tanzanian educational cartoon that follows an African character, Akili, on magical adventures. But right now, as I play with ChatGPT3, I feel it’s like finding magic in a bottle, my own genie, my own oracle. Ask it anything, and lo and behold, a torrent of information explodes across the screen.

Exploring the Possibilities

AI image of boy with large cookie

Image created by Nat Irvin, using Dalle-AI from the MBA book for kindergarteners, How to Steal Cookies and Not Get Caught.

Even at 3:00 AM…it is still there, ready to respond to my commands. As my wife tries to sleep, there I am saying, blurting out, in amazement, “Look what I found! Look what it says about Howard Thurman (her favorite theologian). Look what I found! Look what it says about mysticism. Look what else I found! Look what it says about CRT—critical race theory….”

“Hey GPT, write me a love story about two teenagers, one of whom has a secret—she’s an alien.” It promptly wrote the short teenage love story.”

“Ok,” I said, “modify the secret to her being ‘trans’.” It promptly rewrote the story with all the sensitivity one might hope would accompany a matter of such disclosures.

“Ok, include one other change. The boy has a secret too…he is also trans.”

It was amazing how quickly my chat GPT 3 adjusted the narrative and rewrote the story as if it were a contemporary teenage love story—dealing with the fears of disclosure, rejection, public ridicule, etc.

Then I asked ChatGPT3 to suggest a syllabus for my course, “Managing in the Future.” It responded with:

Here is a possible syllabus outline for an MBA course on “Managing in the Future:”

I. Introduction to Managing in the Future
Defining the concept of “future” in the context of business
The importance of anticipating and preparing for future challenges and opportunities in management
The role of strategic thinking and scenario planning in managing in the future

II. Technology and Innovation
The impact of technological change on businesses and industries
Managing and leveraging technological innovations in the workplace
The importance of digital literacy and data analysis in the modern business environment

III. Sustainability and Social Responsibility
The concept of sustainable development and its relevance to business
Managing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities
Corporate social responsibility and stakeholder management

IV. Globalization and Diversity
The impact of globalization on businesses and industries
Managing diversity and inclusion in a globalized workplace
The role of cultural intelligence and cross-cultural communication in global management

V. Leadership and Organizational Culture
The characteristics and roles of effective leaders in the future business environment
Building and maintaining a positive organizational culture
The importance of personal and professional development for future leaders

VI. Case Studies and Group Projects
Applying the concepts and skills learned in the course to real-world business challenges through case studies and group projects
Developing strategic recommendations and presenting them to the class

VII. Conclusion and Future Directions
Reflecting on the key themes and takeaways from the course
Identifying potential future challenges and opportunities for managers
Developing a personal action plan for continuing to prepare for the future as a manager.

Pretty Darn good, but I had already completed my syllabus.

ChatGPT3 is wickedly smart, but is it smarter than my 3-year-old granddaughter?

But is Chat-GPT3 smarter than my three-year-old granddaughter? Well, no…not even close.

When I asked ChatGPT3 to tell me about my grandaughter’s Saba (that’s me, Nathaniel Irvin), ChatGPT3 said I had died unexpectedly in October 2021, that I lived in Louisiana and had been an award-winning radio-television personality.

News Clipping of WXII News Channel's Emmy Announcement, 1999

Ok, well, it’s true that I did create a television show, “Other Voices,” for WXII, News Channel 12 in Winston-Salem, NC, and it did win an EMMY for the station. And yes, I also wrote a column for over 15 years for the Winston-Salem Journal and was a frequent guest on National Public Radio (NPR).

Mixing the details

But it said nothing about my tenure as a professor at the Babcock School of Management at Wake Forest University or my time as vice chancellor at Winston-Salem State University…yada, yada, yada…

Nat Irvin, Billboard from Winston Salem News

Ok, well, it was an easy mistake since my father and I share the same name, and he did indeed pass away in 2016, and my wife and I also have a son, Nathaniel Irvin III, who is very much alive, thank goodness – as am I.

So no, ChatGPT3 is not smarter than my granddaughter, Jorgie, because she would have told anyone that Saba had just spoken with her on Facebook and that she calls him often. But we all know that with the advances in AI, such factual errors will be largely few.

The Future of ChatGPT

I am, of course, very excited by the future of all things AI, but before my total embrace of this new Jorgie chatbot, I must think back to the Christmas of 1962 when my parents were deciding on a set of encyclopedias for my two siblings and me.

There were several considerations. The first dealt with race—What did the books say about the word “negro” and the idea of race historically? We were black people living in the South and in the midst of a struggle for civil rights. White vigilantes had already vandalized our home; the threats of KKK violence were not just theoretical. My dad was a history teacher, and he knew how CRUCIAL it was for any information, i.e., dictionary, history books, let alone the encyclopedia, that his children would use, had to speak to their self-worth. In other words, he was not buying any set of books that would spout bull***t, a (term he himself would never use) but one that is aptly used to describe the recently released Open AI ChatGPT3 and other chatterbots that are suddenly proliferating like fauna during the Cambrian age.

Any book that would purport that people of color, blacks, or negroes were an inferior race of people that spoke despairingly of black people would be automatically disqualified. But the question for my parents? How would we know which set of books to trust, AND even then, could we afford to buy them?

In a final twist of irony—my little Jorgie now lives in a world where we humans actively debate the idea of AI’s reaching artificial general intelligence (AGI) approaching or surpassing human intelligence. Some speculate that our machines may even attain sentience. In a recent series of lectures (Living With Artificial Intelligence Reith Lectures sponsored by the BBC), Professor Stuart Russell describes this possibility as one of human history’s greatest inventions.

At age three, Jorgie is content going to school every day, laughing and dancing, drawing, making clay objects with her friends, looking through a microscope to see tiny things moving in the water, a magnifying glass to see small print made large, using binoculars to see across a field, and a telescope at night to better-see the moon, and tugging on a kite string while watching it soar, defying the power of gravity.

But around her, large systems are swirling, determining not only the things she will see and learn but what those large AI systems will say about her and how she will be perceived in the electronic encyclopedias of the future. How will this new machine define our principles, rights, and ideals, and, more important, what will it say about fairness and justice?  The new AI – learning language systems trained on existing data are already being used to make decisions about us without much input from us. It’s still very early in the field of machine learning and we are only beginning to confront the “alignment problem.” Will these systems we are currently creating match the world that we have now or the world that we want in the future? The problem of algorithmic justice is already being challenged across a wide range of our human activities, especially in the criminal justice system where AI is being used to predict the future behavior of a defendant accused of a crime. AI is being used in culling resumes, eliminating some candidates on the basis of their names alone. Where is the algorithmic justice?

Final Note

Of course, the above thoughts don’t reflect the rapid changes that occurred in the ChatGPT(x) wars that have just exploded as now ChatGPT has been embedded into Microsoft “Bing” search engine.  Not only will Jorgie’s future bot be able to respond to her in real time, the responses to her queries will be accompanied by real time citations. etc.

So, today, following the announcement of the merger, I asked ChatGPT3 who was “Nat Irvin, II?”

The answer: Nathaniel Irvin II is a former American professional basketball player. He played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a power forward for several teams during the 1990s, including the San Antonio Spurs, the Houston Rockets, and the Denver Nuggets. Irvin was known for his physical style of play and was a fan favorite due to his tenacity on the court. He had a solid career in the NBA but did not achieve the level of stardom that some other players of his era did.

Unfortunately, there is limited information available about Irvin’s life and career after he retired from professional basketball. It is possible that he has retired from public life or is involved in activities that do not receive significant media coverage.

On this score, my three-year-old is still smarter than ChatGPT 3.