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copperdogma View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 4:05pm
[I originally posted this to Questions & Answers. I realized that's more for asking questions of nycmidnight staff, so I'm reposting it here.]

I'm surprised to find there isn't a single post on here about ChatGPT yet.

Primer

If you're not familiar, it's an AI (large language model) released at the beginning of December. It's a simple chat interface and you can ask it to do pretty much any creative or analysis task you can think of, and it does a surprisingly capable job. It's not brilliant, but it's like having access to an average person with infinite time on their hands to do whatever you ask of them.

In my opinion, its novelty lies in its ability to write consistently coherent and self-consistent long-form text and the fact it has a memory (about 5 pages), so if you ask it to "Write me a short story about a pirate and a unicorn," you can then say "That was pretty good, but add a plot twist." And it will.

You can sign up for free to try it: https://chat.openai.com/chat

Obvious uses for writing contests:
- Generate ten story ideas for the following prompt: Genre: Romance, Word: Kettle, Action: Breaking a vase
- Generate odd names for a restaurant you might find in San Francisco.
- Here's a story I wrote: [your story pasted here]. Punch up the dialogue and add a joke.
- Write a story of maximum 250 words for the following prompt: Genre: Action, Word: Motorcycle, Action: Breaking a vase
etc.

I feel it's obvious that getting it to write your entire story defeats the purpose of a writing contest. But after that it gets.. fuzzy.

What are people's opinions on using it for writing? I've been debating this with my fellow writers recently.


-=Cam


Edited by copperdogma - 15 Jan 2023 at 4:07pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Pages Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 6:09pm
Originally posted by copperdogma copperdogma wrote:

I feel it's obvious that getting it to write your entire story defeats the purpose of a writing contest.

I suppose that depends on your reason for joining the challenge. First prize here is a fair amount, enough that it could be the goal for some people. If you join only to win, using AI to write it could be an option.

Having said that, I think it's cheating. If you use AI to write, you're not honing your skill as a writer. It would be like using a ghostwriter, where you tell them the story or outline and they write it for you. The credit for the story should go to the ghostwriter, IMHO.

As for using an AI for non-challenge/contest writing, well, I think it's lazy. The more you write the better you become as a writer. The more you read the more you understand story structure, characterization, and whatnot. Using an AI shortcuts all of that.

I will concede that AI-written work is a new and evolving art form, one worth critiquing and consuming separate from human-written work. I also think that if an AI wrote something, in full or in part, it should be tagged as such so the reader knows the author didn't write it alone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote taaaylor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 6:27pm
I think it's a trash app and if you care about your fellow writers, you wouldn't use it for any commercial gain or contest of SKILL, full stop. Typing sentences into an AI bot isn't a skill. 

I have no respect for writing AI. Use your brain. Read a book. Take a walk. Do your own research. It's not even good as a search index tool because it will confidently lie to you. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote BarbaraFL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 7:22pm
THIS.

I hate the idea of it and people WILL use it for these contests and it's not ok. It's cheating. 

Originally posted by taaaylor taaaylor wrote:

I think it's a trash app and if you care about your fellow writers, you wouldn't use it for any commercial gain or contest of SKILL, full stop. Typing sentences into an AI bot isn't a skill. 

I have no respect for writing AI. Use your brain. Read a book. Take a walk. Do your own research. It's not even good as a search index tool because it will confidently lie to you. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote countercheck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 8:12pm
I think these tools are here to stay, only going to get better, and railing against them isn't particularly useful. Are they moral to use in competition? If feel sh*tty if I were beaten by a story entirely written by chatgpt, both because it feels unfair and because it means my writing is no better than glorified autocomplete. But if people want to use it for ideation? Sure. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Deschain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 8:37pm
[posted this earlier in the original thread]

i wouldn't use it in a competition, even for the small task of coming up with a restaurant name. but also i know enough about it to know there's no way to enforce a ban on its use, so at this point people should be aware that they're potentially competing against AI-assisted writing. anyway i can't really worry about what other people do. i have my own artistic code i follow, what other people do is outside of my control.

In case anyone is curious, this is what ChatGPT did with the Round 1 MF250 prompts I had (ghost story, applying lipstick, "splash"). I gave it just the basic instructions, further instructions could've produced something better...

Once there was a young woman named Mary who lived in an old mansion. She was known for her beauty, but also for her vanity. She would spend hours in front of the mirror, applying makeup, particularly her favorite red lipstick.

One evening, as she was getting ready for a party, she heard a strange noise coming from the bathroom. She ignored it, thinking it was just the pipes, but the noise persisted. As she was about to apply her lipstick, the noise grew louder. Suddenly, the bathroom door flew open and a ghost appeared before her. It was the ghost of a woman who had died in the mansion years ago. She had been betrayed by her lover and had taken her own life, but her spirit had been trapped in the mansion ever since.

The ghost pointed to Mary's lipstick, and in a haunting voice, said "You will die the same way I did, by your own hand."

Mary, terrified, dropped the lipstick and ran out of the room. She never returned to the mansion and never wore red lipstick again.

From that day on, whenever anyone visited the bathroom, they would hear a splash and the ghostly woman's voice warning "Don't make the same mistake I did."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote taaaylor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 8:52pm
Originally posted by BarbaraFL BarbaraFL wrote:

Originally posted by taaaylor taaaylor wrote:

I think it's a trash app and if you care about your fellow writers, you wouldn't use it for any commercial gain or contest of SKILL, full stop. Typing sentences into an AI bot isn't a skill. 

I have no respect for writing AI. Use your brain. Read a book. Take a walk. Do your own research. It's not even good as a search index tool because it will confidently lie to you. 
THIS.

I hate the idea of it and people WILL use it for these contests and it's not ok. It's cheating. 

 

Absolutely.

I'd take it a step further: people who use ChatGPT to replace writing aren't writers. Writers write. Imagine cheating your way to that level of banal mediocrity. It's becoming a problem with Kindle Unlimited and a-holes stealing money from actual writers by pumping out nonsense ChatGPT books and posting them, thus stealing from the communal money pool for total pages read. It has very real monetary impacts already.

I will never be nice about this 😂😂😂 This is the only gate I keep. Wanna be a writer? WRITE. Otherwise you're just a plagiarist with extra steps.


Edited by taaaylor - 13 Jan 2023 at 8:52pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 8:59pm

I am not liking it. Just gave it a try with my prompts from round one. Got it to generate four stories, which it did, though they were all pretty similar in plot, they were different. I can see people using this and then tweaking the results. This is not a good thing for our contests. I enjoy the creative adventure too much to use something like this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 9:18pm
Yeah, this is not only going to be a nightmare for the contests, I already have teacher friends who've gotten cheating assignments they caught out as being AI generated. It's bad enough AIs are causing copyright/trademark issues via how the art generator ones work (please don't use those either) and costing those creators money, this is now a completely lazy way out for a contest. I would even consider it cheating to use it as an idea generator. Yes, there are 'make up a character name' generators, but they don't literally write prose for you. Maybe it's my undergrad uni's very hard-core policy (plagiarism was a single-sanction offense for a first offense: you're expelled) but they're just straight-up immoral to use for any sort of writing you're trying to pass off as your own, right up there with stealing someone else's work.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Deschain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2023 at 10:33pm
I'll be honest though, I was annoyed at first when I found out people were using betas, but when I realized how common it was I just had to accept it. Everyone has different ideas of competitive fairness. If I have to compete against writers bolstered by betas then that's what I'll do. If I have to compete against writers bolstered by ChatGPT then that's what I'll do. If someone asks ChatGPT to help with something they could otherwise ask a beta for, is it really any different? Personally I think not, but I'm sure other people disagree. Anyway, all I can control is my own process.
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