Like a good magic trick, new technology has the ability to put us in awe. To have us saying, “OMG! How’d they do that?!” It is even more awe-inspiring if the technology is taken for granted several years later.

This awe can be quickly replaced by dread. Again, if the technology has reached a level of capability, one can envision its role in society and wonder if that role will conflict with our own.

When this question is raised, the best we can hope for is when experts assure us that the technology will not replace us, but make our role easier, and make us more productive, perhaps even happier, particularly in areas where it has become more difficult to find human beings to fill these roles.

There are many examples of how this progression has happened with automation. Whether the transition was ultimately good, ultimately bad, or simply hasn’t been determined yet, the list of jobs impacted by automation includes bank tellers, longshoreman, assembly line workers, cashiers, and, if they ever deliver the drones and self-driving cars touted over the last few years, perhaps bus drivers and delivery persons as well.

For me, these questions have never been more close to home than in the last few months. You have no doubt heard of ChatGPT, or Google’s Bard, or one of the many artificial intelligence chatbots. These chatbots allow the user to simply type in a command to write something and spit out an essay, or even a poem.

For me, the progression started when the technology was profiled on an episode of 60 Minutes titled “Revolution” in mid-April. Much like Scott Pelley, I watched in amazement at how quickly, literally right before our eyes, Google’s Bard wrote an essay from nothing more than a one-sentence instruction.

My awe was quickly replaced by a desire to curl up in a ball on the floor. But next to come was a deep dive into these chatbots that led to misinformation, “hallucinations”, and references supposedly “made up” by the technology, as well as those defending the technology against these accusations.

More recently, the discussion has turned to these chatbots being used by students to cheat on exams and by others to simply game the current systems of society. Whether this is the middle or end of my progression, I thought the best and only thing I could do was try the technology.

Below is the result of asking ChatGPT to: “Write a 300 word essay on the dangers and benefits of artificial intelligence in manufacturing.” It took less than 10 seconds to produce. It is unedited and unadulterated. I’ll let you decide its accuracy and relevance.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!