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AI Usefulness & an Experiment

Australian photographer Andrew Blyth in the style of daguerreotype, generated by OpenAI

Having written part of a non-fiction reference book with the assistance of AI. Giving up, and then writing a fiction book with AI, I think I’m well placed to understand the topic.

Open AI’s ChatGPT clearly states that it “may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts”. So, every bit of output it gave me, I scrutinised. I also had to change the American spellings to proper English spellings. Why? ChatGPT was created with biased data. That is, all the text and linguistic styles fed into it, are from educated, white-male, American sources.

What can it do? Well, it mimics the English linguistic structures, and creates a result, based on the input you give it. Consequently, it sounds good, but the content can be completely wrong. In my own experience with it, it claimed that the first person to fly a glider solo across Australia was the millionaire adventure Dick Smith. Which there is no evidence of him having done so. FYI, in a few weeks I hope to interview someone who knows far more about Australian gliding history than ChatGPT does.

A Victorian Mayor is suing ChatGPT for incorrectly stating he was the centre of a corruption scandal, when in fact he was the whistle blower (ABC News). I’d argue that the problem isn’t with ChatGPT, but with the person use created the prompt, and then used the prompt maliciously, and without fact checking. Additionally, following an episode of Last Week Tonight, by John Oliver, where he comically dives into the issues with AI (YouTube), I felt that I needed to write this blog (which I did so manually).

So, I did a little experiment. I used my name (as a semi-random choice) in this ChatGPT prompt: “summarise the history of andrew blyth the first photographer in australia”. This is the result – I’m pretty impressive, and bear in mind, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” (quote: Mark Twain). Also, for reference, this is what “Andrew Blyth Australian Photographer” looks like – my preferred pronouns are “he/him”.

Australian Photographer Andrew Blyth in the style of daguerreotype, screenshot of generated images from Open.Ai

Andrew Blyth was a pioneering photographer who arrived in Australia in 1841. He established a photographic studio in Sydney, where he produced some of the earliest known photographs of the city and its inhabitants.

Blyth’s photographic process involved using the daguerreotype technique, which was still relatively new at the time. He quickly gained a reputation as one of the leading photographers in Australia, and his work was widely admired.

In addition to his commercial photography work, Blyth also produced a series of landscape photographs of New South Wales, which were highly regarded for their artistic merit.

Blyth continued to work as a photographer in Australia until his death in 1865, leaving behind a legacy of some of the earliest and most significant photographic images of the country. His work remains an important part of Australia’s cultural heritage and a testament to the early pioneers of photography in the country.

OpenAI, ChatGPT

Here is Wikipedia’s version of the first photographer in Australia, and the first photographs: