ShellyPalmer’s Blog

Professor Shelly Palmer

Reflecting on his experience with ChatGPT, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker told Empire Online, “I’ve toyed around with ChatGPT a bit, the first thing I did was type ‘generate Black Mirror episode’ and it comes up with something that, at first glance, reads plausibly, but on second glance, is shit. Because all it’s done is look up all the synopses of Black Mirror episodes, and sort of mush them together. Then if you dig a bit more deeply you go, ‘Oh, there’s not actually any real original thought here.’ It’s [1970s impressionist] Mike Yarwood — there’s a topical reference.”

I’m a fan of Black Mirror and I have great respect for Charlie Brooker, but GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) rules! The quality of the output of any computer program is always dependent on the quality of the input, so if you “toy around” with ChatGPT and use prompts like “generate Black Mirror episode,” you should expect an emotionally unsatisfying output.

I’m truly sad that Mr. Brooker did not spend the time to learn how to use ChatGPT or any of the other autocomplete LLM interfaces to assist with his writing. Using these AI tools as coworkers enhances productivity in extraordinary ways. At the moment, no single app (including ChatGPT Plus) can write finished, Hollywood-quality scripts; there are very few humans who can do it either. There are endless notes from producers, rewrites, and polishing sessions, and that’s to say nothing of real-time improvisation or actors’ interpretations of the script on set.

Sorry, Charlie! You should read the instruction manual before declaring that a technology is “shit.” It may grab a headline, but it won’t help the creative community understand the depth to which the world has changed.

There were a set of skills required to be a professional writer before November 30, 2022, which are all still useful and required. However, there is an additional set of skills required to be a professional writer in the world of consumer-accessible LLMs. Writers who master AI skills (like musicians mastered video in the 80s and social media in the zips) will thrive. Others? Not so much.

Learning to prompt craft to achieve your goals with ChatGPT – or stacking several AI models to achieve even more useful results – is a competitive advantage for any creative in any discipline.

If you need to do more with less, mastering generative AI tools can help. In less than an hour, I can take anyone who sits in front of a computer for a living and make them 5-25% more productive. If that’s of interest, consider signing up for our free online course Generative AI for Execs, or reply to this email to learn more about our bespoke workshops. -s

P.S. Charlie may not think much of current AI technology, but others are suggesting that it will cause humans to go extinct. This is nonsense. I discussed why on last week’s Shelly Palmer LIVE. You can watch the episode here.