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What a Wedding Sweater Mix-Up Taught Me About Interacting with ChatGPT

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

The Mumm Barn
The Mumm Barn in Clayton, Wisconsin

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending an outdoor wedding. While the scenery was spectacular, and the fall crisp air perfectly fitting for the event, some of us - yours truly included - prioritized style over warmth. Thankfully, the planners anticipated that their guests would come unprepared for the brisk country breeze and provided cozy blankets we happily shared.

Wedding guests happy to have blankets
Wedding Guests

So where am I going with all of this?

After the ceremony ended, one of the gals sent her husband on a noble quest: to retrieve her sweater from the car. As it turned out, there was more than one sweater in the car and he returned with you guessed it, the wrong sweater. That meant a second trip back to the car. We'll call it the "Two-Trip-Tango".

We've all been there. We've asked a spouse, a child, a friend or a co-worker to help us with something and we don't get what we expect in return. Oftentimes it's a simple a breakdown in communication.

This my friend, is where I find parallels with ChatGPT.

You know, sometimes we can get caught in all the buzz about prompts and prompt templates. Don't get me wrong, they're great if you are building workflows. But in my year of jamming with ChatGPT, I've realized there's a lot to be gained by talking to ChatGPT as if it's your friend. I've tossed all sorts of questions. I think I just registered my 500th conversation.

Most of the time, I'm just curious what it will say. It's been a hands-on way for me to learn what it excels at and where it needs more training. As for OpenAI's new voice features? Just seems like they're making it even more intuitive for us everyday folks to strike up a conversation without feeling intimidated.

Whether we're querying a chatbot for details, or asking a loved one for a sweater, the dance of communication can be a complex jig. The goal is not to overthink it.

  1. It’s all about Specifics: Just like my friend could’ve specified, “Honey, it’s the black, button-up one in the backseat,” when prompting ChatGPT, being precise in your ask can save a lot of back-and-forth.

  2. Expect the Unexpected: Both humans and AIs are prone to moments of unpredictability. Embrace it. Sometimes, the journey (or the Tango) is where the fun's at!

  3. A Bot’s Patience is Infinite: One undeniable perk of digital buddies like ChatGPT? Their inexhaustible patience. Ask, rephrase, ask again – they won’t mind. Unlike us mortals who might huff and puff with every repeated request, chatbots handle our incessant queries with grace. They won't roll their eyes or sigh dramatically; they just keep on assisting, no matter how many "Two-Trip Tangos" we dance with them.

With both humans and bots, we initiate a conversation with the best of intentions, aiming for clarity right from the start. Yet, even when armed with the best details, things might not always go as planned.

The beauty? It’s in the journey of refinement, learning from our miscues, and evolving our approach. Just as we hone our ways of interacting with those around us, we too can perfect our 'prompts' with AI, making every request a bit more seamless than the last.

And hey, if you're keen on learning about AI in visual storytelling, please join me and the incredible Erica Hanna at the October 13, 2023 event! “Visual Storytelling: Creative Breakthroughs, Neuroscience, and AI” hosted by Social Media Breakfast - Minneapolis/St. Paul. Hope to see you there!

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