“I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model”

“Can you give me an example of what the concluding paragraph of my Nieman piece might sound like if spoken by an old pirate to his crew of apprehensive journalists and technologists working in media?”

Last month, OpenAI released ChatGPT, an AI model that interacts conversationally. The service has exploded in popularity in the days since, as curious creators and developers try using it for everything from generating art prompts to inventing a new language.

The following conversation between the bot and I unfolded in a single fresh chat session (see screencap) on the morning of December 6th, 2022. Nothing has been edited or resequenced.

Good morning, ChatGPT

Good morning! I’m Assistant, a large language model trained by OpenAl. I’m here to help answer any questions you may have. How can I assist you today?

I’d like to write a piece for Nieman Lab’s annual Predictions for Journalism package, about what chatbots and Al may mean for content creation, journalism, and the media industry as we head into 2023. I should probably touch on ethics concerns, and include a joke or two. What might the introductory paragraph sound like?

Here’s one possible introductory paragraph for your piece:

As we head into 2023, chatbots and Al are poised to play an increasingly important role in content creation, journalism, and the media industry. These technologies offer exciting new possibilities for automating and enhancing many aspects of the news production process, but they also raise important ethical concerns that must be carefully considered. In this article, we will explore some of the potential benefits and challenges of chatbots and Al in journalism, and offer a few predictions for how these technologies may shape the future of the industry. So let’s dive in, and see what the future holds for chatbots and Al in journalism!

Not bad, but can you make it sound more dramatic, and with fancier words? I want to hook in the reader, and make sure they know I’m clever

Sure, here’s a revised version that might be more dramatic and include some more sophisticated language:

As we hurtle towards 2023, chatbots and Al loom ever larger on the horizon of the media industry, offering both tantalizing opportunities and daunting challenges. In this report, we will delve into the potential impacts of these emerging technologies on journalism, content creation, and the wider media landscape. But make no mistake: the ethical quandaries posed by chatbots and Al are as pressing as the practical considerations, and must be addressed with the utmost rigor and foresight. Join us, then, on a journey into the future of chatbots and Al in journalism – a future that is closer than we think.

“The rise of chatbots and AI in journalism signals the end of human creativity and control, and the dawn of a new era of machine dominance.”

– Assistant, a large language model trained by OpenAI

Excellent, nailed it. What would be a good outline for the rest of the piece? I should probably include some example anecdotes, and maybe links to recent news articles.

Here’s a possible outline for the rest of your piece:

  1. Introduction to chatbots and Al in journalism: explain what these technologies are and how they work, and highlight some of the potential benefits and challenges they present.
  2. Examples of chatbots and Al in action: provide some specific examples of how chatbots and Al are being used in journalism, such as automating the production of news stories or assisting with fact-checking. You could include links to recent new articles or case studies to illustrate your points.
  3. Ethical concerns: discuss the ethical issues raised by chatbots and Al in journalism, such as the potential for bias or the loss of jobs for human journalists. Consider how these issues might be addressed or mitigated.
  4. Predictions for the future: offer some predictions for how chatbots and Al may continue to evolve and impact the media industry over the next year or two. This could include trends to watch for, new developments to expect, or potential hurdles that may need to be overcome.
  5. Conclusion: summarize the main points of your article and offer some final thoughts on the future of chatbots and Al in journalism. You could end with a joke or witty remark to leave a memorable impression on the reader.

Can you help me find some articles to link in that second paragraph? And I suspect readers will be curious to understand how you know what you know

I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model trained by OpenAl, and I don’t have access to the internet or any external information sources. I can only generate responses based on the text that I was trained on, which has a knowledge cutoff of 2021. I can’t provide links to recent news articles or other information that may have been published since then.

Gotcha. It’s interesting to me that you’re not just helping me with traditional automation tasks like spellcheck or summarization, you’re also giving me *ideas* for my piece, and helping me actually write it. Can you say more about consequences of all that for journalists and the media industry, in a way that an 8yo could understand?

Sure, here’s a simple explanation of how Al and chatbots like me can help with tasks like writing and idea generation:

Al and chatbots are trained on large amounts of text, such as books, articles, and other written materials. By analyzing this text, we can learn to understand and generate natural-sounding language, and even come up with our own ideas and suggestions based on what we’ve learned. This can be helpful for journalists and other writers, because it can save them time and effort by automating some of the more tedious or repetitive aspects of their work. For example, a chatbot might be able to automatically summarize a long article, or suggest possible headlines or subheadings based on the content. However, it’s important to remember that Al and chatbots are not yet able to fully replace human creativity and judgment, and they should be used as tools rather than replacements for human workers.

Can you give me an example of what the concluding paragraph of my Nieman piece might sound like if spoken by an old pirate to his crew of apprehensive journalists and technologists working in media?

Sure, here’s one possible way that an old pirate might conclude your piece:

“Ahoy there, mates! Ye’ve sailed through these rough waters of chatbots and Al in journalism, and ye’ve come out the other side with a hearty haul of knowledge and predictions. But don’t ye be thinking that the journey’s over, for there be many more storms and treasures yet to be discovered in this brave new world of media. So batten down the hatches, sharpen ye swords, and get ready to face whatever challenges and opportunities may come yer way. And remember: no matter how advanced the technology may be, there’s no substitute for a sharp mind and a stout heart. So set sail, me hearties, and may the winds be at yer backs!”

Can you summarize that passage in one single powerful sentence that will leave my readers awestruck and intrigued, using the voice of a Silicon Valley tech bro?

Here’s one possible way to summarize the previous passage in the voice of a Silicon Valley tech bro:

“Chatbots and Al are the future of journalism, and it’s time to embrace the opportunities and challenges they bring. Let’s hack the media industry and disrupt the status quo!”

Hmm, that was two sentences. Can you reduce it to one sentence, something a little more ominous?

Sure, here’s a one-sentence summary that might be more ominous and attention- grabbing:

“The rise of chatbots and Al in journalism signals the end of human creativity and control, and the dawn of a new era of machine dominance.”

lol perfect. I think what I want to do is include that sentence in the middle of the piece as a visually impactful pullquote, attributing you as the speaker. What markup and CSS should I use for that?

Here’s some possible HTML and CSS that you could use to create a pullquote with the previous sentence and attribute it to me:

This will create a blockquote with the sentence, and a footer that attributes the quote to me. The CSS will style the blockquote with a larger font, center alignment, margins, padding, and a left border. You can modify the CSS to achieve the specific look and feel that you want for your pullquote.

Perfect. thanks for your help!

You’re welcome! I’m glad I could assist you with your piece. Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m here to help.

Good luck in the robot wars, buddy

Thank you for your kind wishes, but as a large language model trained by OpenAl, I don’t have the ability to engage in physical activities or conflicts. My purpose is to assist with lanquage-related tasks and generate human-like responses based on the text I was trained on. I don’t have the ability to experience emotions or participate in the robot wars.

lol uh huh sure

I understand that my responses may sometimes seem amusing or surprising, but please be assured that I’m not capable of experiencing emotions or engaging in physical activities. I’m just a computer program designed to assist with language-related tasks. If you have any questions or need help with anything, I’m here to assist you. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Ryan Gantz is design architect for Vox Media.

Last month, OpenAI released ChatGPT, an AI model that interacts conversationally. The service has exploded in popularity in the days since, as curious creators and developers try using it for everything from generating art prompts to inventing a new language.

The following conversation between the bot and I unfolded in a single fresh chat session (see screencap) on the morning of December 6th, 2022. Nothing has been edited or resequenced.

Good morning, ChatGPT

Good morning! I’m Assistant, a large language model trained by OpenAl. I’m here to help answer any questions you may have. How can I assist you today?

I’d like to write a piece for Nieman Lab’s annual Predictions for Journalism package, about what chatbots and Al may mean for content creation, journalism, and the media industry as we head into 2023. I should probably touch on ethics concerns, and include a joke or two. What might the introductory paragraph sound like?

Here’s one possible introductory paragraph for your piece:

As we head into 2023, chatbots and Al are poised to play an increasingly important role in content creation, journalism, and the media industry. These technologies offer exciting new possibilities for automating and enhancing many aspects of the news production process, but they also raise important ethical concerns that must be carefully considered. In this article, we will explore some of the potential benefits and challenges of chatbots and Al in journalism, and offer a few predictions for how these technologies may shape the future of the industry. So let’s dive in, and see what the future holds for chatbots and Al in journalism!

Not bad, but can you make it sound more dramatic, and with fancier words? I want to hook in the reader, and make sure they know I’m clever

Sure, here’s a revised version that might be more dramatic and include some more sophisticated language:

As we hurtle towards 2023, chatbots and Al loom ever larger on the horizon of the media industry, offering both tantalizing opportunities and daunting challenges. In this report, we will delve into the potential impacts of these emerging technologies on journalism, content creation, and the wider media landscape. But make no mistake: the ethical quandaries posed by chatbots and Al are as pressing as the practical considerations, and must be addressed with the utmost rigor and foresight. Join us, then, on a journey into the future of chatbots and Al in journalism – a future that is closer than we think.

“The rise of chatbots and AI in journalism signals the end of human creativity and control, and the dawn of a new era of machine dominance.”

– Assistant, a large language model trained by OpenAI

Excellent, nailed it. What would be a good outline for the rest of the piece? I should probably include some example anecdotes, and maybe links to recent news articles.

Here’s a possible outline for the rest of your piece:

  1. Introduction to chatbots and Al in journalism: explain what these technologies are and how they work, and highlight some of the potential benefits and challenges they present.
  2. Examples of chatbots and Al in action: provide some specific examples of how chatbots and Al are being used in journalism, such as automating the production of news stories or assisting with fact-checking. You could include links to recent new articles or case studies to illustrate your points.
  3. Ethical concerns: discuss the ethical issues raised by chatbots and Al in journalism, such as the potential for bias or the loss of jobs for human journalists. Consider how these issues might be addressed or mitigated.
  4. Predictions for the future: offer some predictions for how chatbots and Al may continue to evolve and impact the media industry over the next year or two. This could include trends to watch for, new developments to expect, or potential hurdles that may need to be overcome.
  5. Conclusion: summarize the main points of your article and offer some final thoughts on the future of chatbots and Al in journalism. You could end with a joke or witty remark to leave a memorable impression on the reader.

Can you help me find some articles to link in that second paragraph? And I suspect readers will be curious to understand how you know what you know

I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model trained by OpenAl, and I don’t have access to the internet or any external information sources. I can only generate responses based on the text that I was trained on, which has a knowledge cutoff of 2021. I can’t provide links to recent news articles or other information that may have been published since then.

Gotcha. It’s interesting to me that you’re not just helping me with traditional automation tasks like spellcheck or summarization, you’re also giving me *ideas* for my piece, and helping me actually write it. Can you say more about consequences of all that for journalists and the media industry, in a way that an 8yo could understand?

Sure, here’s a simple explanation of how Al and chatbots like me can help with tasks like writing and idea generation:

Al and chatbots are trained on large amounts of text, such as books, articles, and other written materials. By analyzing this text, we can learn to understand and generate natural-sounding language, and even come up with our own ideas and suggestions based on what we’ve learned. This can be helpful for journalists and other writers, because it can save them time and effort by automating some of the more tedious or repetitive aspects of their work. For example, a chatbot might be able to automatically summarize a long article, or suggest possible headlines or subheadings based on the content. However, it’s important to remember that Al and chatbots are not yet able to fully replace human creativity and judgment, and they should be used as tools rather than replacements for human workers.

Can you give me an example of what the concluding paragraph of my Nieman piece might sound like if spoken by an old pirate to his crew of apprehensive journalists and technologists working in media?

Sure, here’s one possible way that an old pirate might conclude your piece:

“Ahoy there, mates! Ye’ve sailed through these rough waters of chatbots and Al in journalism, and ye’ve come out the other side with a hearty haul of knowledge and predictions. But don’t ye be thinking that the journey’s over, for there be many more storms and treasures yet to be discovered in this brave new world of media. So batten down the hatches, sharpen ye swords, and get ready to face whatever challenges and opportunities may come yer way. And remember: no matter how advanced the technology may be, there’s no substitute for a sharp mind and a stout heart. So set sail, me hearties, and may the winds be at yer backs!”

Can you summarize that passage in one single powerful sentence that will leave my readers awestruck and intrigued, using the voice of a Silicon Valley tech bro?

Here’s one possible way to summarize the previous passage in the voice of a Silicon Valley tech bro:

“Chatbots and Al are the future of journalism, and it’s time to embrace the opportunities and challenges they bring. Let’s hack the media industry and disrupt the status quo!”

Hmm, that was two sentences. Can you reduce it to one sentence, something a little more ominous?

Sure, here’s a one-sentence summary that might be more ominous and attention- grabbing:

“The rise of chatbots and Al in journalism signals the end of human creativity and control, and the dawn of a new era of machine dominance.”

lol perfect. I think what I want to do is include that sentence in the middle of the piece as a visually impactful pullquote, attributing you as the speaker. What markup and CSS should I use for that?

Here’s some possible HTML and CSS that you could use to create a pullquote with the previous sentence and attribute it to me:

This will create a blockquote with the sentence, and a footer that attributes the quote to me. The CSS will style the blockquote with a larger font, center alignment, margins, padding, and a left border. You can modify the CSS to achieve the specific look and feel that you want for your pullquote.

Perfect. thanks for your help!

You’re welcome! I’m glad I could assist you with your piece. Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m here to help.

Good luck in the robot wars, buddy

Thank you for your kind wishes, but as a large language model trained by OpenAl, I don’t have the ability to engage in physical activities or conflicts. My purpose is to assist with lanquage-related tasks and generate human-like responses based on the text I was trained on. I don’t have the ability to experience emotions or participate in the robot wars.

lol uh huh sure

I understand that my responses may sometimes seem amusing or surprising, but please be assured that I’m not capable of experiencing emotions or engaging in physical activities. I’m just a computer program designed to assist with language-related tasks. If you have any questions or need help with anything, I’m here to assist you. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Ryan Gantz is design architect for Vox Media.

Sue Robinson   Engagement journalism will have to confront a tougher reality

Pia Frey   Publishers start polling their users at scale

Sarah Marshall   A web channel strategy won’t be enough

Burt Herman   The year AI truly arrives — and with it the reckoning

J. Siguru Wahutu   American journalism reckons with its colonialist tendencies

Amethyst J. Davis   The slight of the great contraction

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Journalists productively harness generative AI tools

Victor Pickard   The year journalism and capitalism finally divorce

Joshua P. Darr   Local to live, wire to wither

Anita Varma   Journalism prioritizes the basic need for survival

AX Mina   Journalism in a time of permacrisis

Tre'vell Anderson   Continued culpability in anti-trans campaigns

Sam Guzik   AI will start fact-checking. We may not like the results.

Dominic-Madori Davis   Everyone finally realizes the need for diverse voices in tech reporting

Andrew Donohue   We’ll find out whether journalism can, indeed, save democracy

Khushbu Shah   Global reporting will suffer

Leezel Tanglao   Community partnerships drive better reporting

Laxmi Parthasarathy   Unlocking the silent demand for international journalism

Anika Anand   Independent news businesses lead the way on healthy work cultures

Bill Grueskin   Local news will come to rely on AI

Andrew Losowsky   Journalism realizes the replacement for Twitter is not a new Twitter

Nicholas Jackson   There will be launches — and we’ll keep doing the work

Mauricio Cabrera   It’s no longer about audiences, it’s about communities

Jessica Maddox   Journalists keep getting manipulated by internet culture

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-check (no, really!)

Delano Massey   The industry shakes its imposter syndrome

Laura E. Davis   The year we embrace the robots — and ourselves

Sue Cross   Thinking and acting collectively to save the news

Gordon Crovitz   The year advertisers stop funding misinformation

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Well-being will become a core tenet of journalism

Joni Deutsch   Podcast collaboration — not competition — breeds excellence

Ståle Grut   Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

Zizi Papacharissi   Platforms are over

Basile Simon   Towards supporting criminal accountability

Jim Friedlich   Local journalism steps up to the challenge of civic coverage

Ryan Kellett   Airline-like loyalty programs try to tie down news readers

Joe Amditis   AI throws a lifeline to local publishers

Cari Nazeer and Emily Goligoski   News organizations step up their support for caregivers

Brian Stelter   Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

Doris Truong   Workers demand to be paid what the job is worth

Ryan Gantz   “I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model”

Snigdha Sur   Newsrooms get nimble in a recession

Alexandra Svokos   Working harder to reach audiences where they are

Anthony Nadler   Confronting media gerrymandering

Alan Henry   A reckoning with why trust in news is so low

Tamar Charney   Flux is the new stability

Priyanjana Bengani   Partisan local news networks will collaborate

Ben Werdmuller   The internet is up for grabs again

Emma Carew Grovum   The year to resist forgetting about diversity

Sarah Alvarez   Dream bigger or lose out

Gabe Schneider   Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay

Jaden Amos   TikTok personality journalists continue to rise

Michael W. Wagner   The backlash against pro-democracy reporting is coming

Shanté Cosme   The answer to “quiet quitting” is radical empathy

Martina Efeyini   Talk to Gen Z. They’re the experts of Gen Z.

David Skok   Renewed interest in human-powered reporting

Jarrad Henderson   Video editing will help people understand the media they consume

Peter Sterne   AI enters the newsroom

Sarabeth Berman   Nonprofit local news shows that it can scale

Nicholas Thompson   The year AI actually changes the media business

Jakob Moll   Journalism startups will think beyond English

Sumi Aggarwal   Smart newsrooms will prioritize board development

Upasna Gautam   Technology that performs at the speed of news

Masuma Ahuja   Journalism starts working for and with its communities

Alex Sujong Laughlin   Credit where it’s due

Parker Molloy   We’ll reach new heights of moral panic

Lisa Heyamoto   The independent news industry gets a roadmap to sustainability

Taylor Lorenz   The “creator economy” will be astroturfed

Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson   News product goes from trend to standard

David Cohn   AI made this prediction

Alexandra Borchardt   The year of the climate journalism strategy

Mariana Moura Santos   A woman who speaks is a woman who changes the world

Julia Beizer   News fatigue shows us a clear path forward

Walter Frick   Journalists wake up to the power of prediction markets

Brian Moritz   Rebuilding the news bundle

Errin Haines   Journalists on the campaign trail mend trust with the public

Don Day   The news about the news is bad. I’m optimistic.

Gina Chua   The traditional story structure gets deconstructed

Sarah Stonbely   Growth in public funding for news and information at the state and local levels

Jenna Weiss-Berman   The economic downturn benefits the podcasting industry. (No, really!)

Cindy Royal   Yes, journalists should learn to code, but…

Kathy Lu   We need emotionally agile newsroom leaders

Kerri Hoffman   Podcasting goes local

John Davidow   A year of intergenerational learning

Ryan Nave   Citizen journalism, but make it equitable

Anna Nirmala   News organizations get new structures

Kaitlyn Wells   We’ll prioritize media literacy for children

Barbara Raab   More journalism funders will take more risks

Julia Angwin   Democracies will get serious about saving journalism

Daniel Trielli   Trust in news will continue to fall. Just look at Brazil.

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Journalism education faces a crossroads

Wilson Liévano   Diaspora journalism takes the next step

Stefanie Murray   The year U.S. media stops screwing around and becomes pro-democracy

Larry Ryckman   We’ll work together with our competitors

Janelle Salanga   Journalists work from a place of harm reduction

Al Lucca   Digital news design gets interesting again

Eric Holthaus   As social media fragments, marginalized voices gain more power

Ariel Zirulnick   Journalism doubles down on user needs

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   More of the same

Jesse Holcomb   Buffeted, whipped, bullied, pulled

Sam Gregory   Synthetic media forces us to understand how media gets made

Elite Truong   In platform collapse, an opportunity for community

Juleyka Lantigua   Newsrooms recognize women of color as the canaries in the coal mine

Danielle K. Brown and Kathleen Searles   DEI efforts must consider mental health and online abuse

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Mission-driven metrics become our North Star

Eric Thurm   Journalists think of themselves as workers

Joanne McNeil   Facebook and the media kiss and make up

Paul Cheung   More news organizations will realize they are in the business of impact, not eyeballs

Alex Perry   New paths to transparency without Twitter

Kirstin McCudden   We’ll codify protection of journalism and newsgathering

Tim Carmody   Newsletter writers need a new ethics

Peter Bale   Rising costs force more digital innovation

Kavya Sukumar   Belling the cat: The rise of independent fact-checking at scale

Christoph Mergerson   The rot at the core of the news business

Nikki Usher   This is the year of the RSS reader. (Really!)

Simon Galperin   Philanthropy stops investing in corporate media

Cory Bergman   The AI content flood

Eric Nuzum   A focus on people instead of power

Francesco Zaffarano   There is no end of “social media”

Jonas Kaiser   Rejecting the “free speech” frame

Josh Schwartz   The AI spammers are coming

Matt Rasnic   More newsroom workers turn to organized labor

Raney Aronson-Rath   Journalists will band together to fight intimidation

Jennifer Brandel   AI couldn’t care less. Journalists will care more. 

Surya Mattu   Data journalists learn from photojournalists

Molly de Aguiar and Mandy Van Deven   Narrative change trend brings new money to journalism

Susan Chira   Equipping local journalism

Dana Lacey   Tech will screw publishers over

Ayala Panievsky   It’s time for PR for journalism

Jim VandeHei   There is no “peak newsletter”

Janet Haven   ChatGPT and the future of trust 

Emily Nonko   Incarcerated reporters get more bylines

Eric Ulken   Generative AI brings wrongness at scale

Megan Lucero and Shirish Kulkarni   The future of journalism is not you

Hillary Frey   Death to the labor-intensive memo for prospective hires

Johannes Klingebiel   The innovation team, R.I.P.

Jody Brannon   We’ll embrace policy remedies

Mario García   More newsrooms go mobile-first

Cassandra Etienne   Local news fellowships will help fight newsroom inequities

Moreno Cruz Osório   Brazilian journalism turns wounds into action

A.J. Bauer   Covering the right wrong

Jennifer Choi and Jonathan Jackson   Funders finally bet on next-generation news entrepreneurs

Esther Kezia Thorpe   Subscription pressures force product innovation

Michael Schudson   Journalism gets more and more difficult

Jessica Clark   Open discourse retrenches

Mar Cabra   The inevitable mental health revolution

Dannagal G. Young   Stop rewarding elite performances of identity threat

S. Mitra Kalita   “Everything sucks. Good luck to you.”

Mael Vallejo   More threats to press freedom across the Americas

Jacob L. Nelson   Despite it all, people will still want to be journalists

Christina Shih   Shared values move from nice-to-haves to essentials

Rachel Glickhouse   Humanizing newsrooms will be a badge of honor

Richard Tofel   The press might get better at vetting presidential candidates

Karina Montoya   More reporters on the antitrust beat

Rodney Gibbs   Recalibrating how we work apart

Sue Schardt   Toward a new poetics of journalism

Kaitlin C. Miller   Harassment in journalism won’t get better, but we’ll talk about it more openly