Saved by the Bot
If you can't be arsed to write a relatively inconsequential letter, large language models have got your back.
Millie Houlton, a 22-year-old student at York St John University in England, found herself with a $74 parking ticket from the cops, even though she had a permit to park at that location. Her solution? Overturning it by drafting a letter using ChatGPT.
"Please help me write a letter to the council, they gave me a parking ticket," she instructed the AI, as quoted by the BBC.
Swamped up to her neck in academic endeavors, Houlton at first considered just eating the fine. After all, who wants to waste their time going through the process of writing a laborious letter and hoping the sluggish mechanisms of an inert bureaucracy get back to you in a remotely reasonable time frame? People have stuff to do.
Luckily for her, Houlton decided to use ChatGPT on a whim. It's all the rage!
"I was like, 'Oh I don't need this fine, I'm a student,' but trying to articulate what I wanted to say was pretty difficult so I thought I'll just see if ChatGPT can do it for me," Houlton told the BBC. "I put in all my details about where and when it happened, why it was wrong and my reference for the fine and it came back with this perfectly formed personalized response within minutes."
Hold Your Horses
Lo and behold, Houlton eventually got a response from the city council stating that the fine was revoked. It was that easy.
But before you take this as a green light to use ChatGPT as the solution to everything you're too lazy to do on your own, just know that it and other large language models tend to be unreliable when it comes to getting the facts straight.
Even GPT-4, OpenAI's much hyped up upgrade to ChatGPT's slightly older language model, has been found to be even less accurate than its predecessor.
The good news for the loafing BS artist, though, is that these AIs are very good at writing authoritative and credible prose. Just don't use it to write a letter about a recent tragedy.
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