AI copyPretty soon it’ll be 16 years since I quit drinking. I gave it up on or about St. Patrick’s Day 2007. Most years, I mark the anniversary with an Éirinn-go-Bragh-Kiss-Me-I’m-Sober blog post.

The big day’s coming up again, and with it the annual struggle to come up with fresh thoughts on the positives of sobriety.

Lately, my news feeds have been full of concerned articles about students and writers cheating with the aid of artificial intelligence, specifically with an AI app called ChatGPT, already being used by thousands to write term papers, blog posts … even books.

I once had a teaching fellowship at Sacramento State College, and remember getting occasional plagiarized essays from my English Composition 101 students. They were easy to spot. Until today, I assumed the concern over ChatGPT was overblown, that any college prof or magazine editor would recognize AI-generated material from a mile away.

Out of curiosity, I signed up for ChatGPT this morning and asked it to write a short blog post about the joys of sobriety. Here’s what it came up with:

Sobriety is often associated with negativity, restriction, and sacrifice. Many people assume that giving up alcohol or drugs means giving up fun, socializing, and pleasure. However, the truth is quite the opposite. Sobriety can be incredibly joyful, fulfilling, and liberating. Here are some of the joys of sobriety:

Clarity of mind: One of the most immediate benefits of sobriety is the clarity of mind that comes with it. When you’re not clouded by drugs or alcohol, you can think more clearly, make better decisions, and be more present in the moment. You can fully experience the world around you without the numbing effects of substances.

Improved physical health: Sobriety can lead to improved physical health. Alcohol and drugs can take a toll on your body, leading to problems such as liver damage, heart disease, and respiratory issues. When you’re sober, your body has a chance to heal and recover.

Deeper relationships: Sobriety can also deepen your relationships with others. When you’re not relying on substances to socialize, you can connect with people on a deeper level. You can have meaningful conversations, create memories, and build stronger bonds.

More fulfilling experiences: Sobriety can lead to more fulfilling experiences. When you’re not numbing yourself with substances, you can fully experience life’s pleasures. Whether it’s a beautiful sunset, a delicious meal, or a fun activity with friends, you can enjoy it fully without the need for alcohol or drugs.

Self-discovery: Finally, sobriety can be a journey of self-discovery. When you’re not constantly relying on substances to cope with life’s challenges, you have the opportunity to learn more about yourself. You can discover your passions, values, and purpose in life.

In conclusion, sobriety can bring immense joy, fulfillment, and freedom. If you’re struggling with addiction, know that there is hope for a brighter future. Sobriety may not always be easy, but it can be a path to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

You know, that’s … not bad. Not bad at all. Apart from the lame “in conclusion” final paragraph, a working writer or journalist could have written it. If I didn’t know, would I have any idea it had been generated by an AI? No. It would have passed my Turing test!

But that’s not all. At the bottom of ChatGPT’s essay there’s a “regenerate response” button. Let’s see what happens when we press it.

Sobriety is a state of being sober and free from the effects of alcohol or drugs. While the journey towards sobriety can be challenging, it comes with immense joy and fulfillment. Here are some of the joys of sobriety.

Mental clarity
One of the most significant benefits of sobriety is mental clarity. When we are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, our minds are clear and focused. We can think more clearly, make better decisions, and have better judgment.

Improved health
Sobriety also comes with improved health. Alcohol and drugs can cause severe damage to our bodies, leading to various health problems. When we are sober, we can give our bodies a chance to heal and recover.

Better relationships
Alcohol and drugs can strain our relationships with loved ones. Sobriety allows us to repair and strengthen these relationships. We can communicate better, be more present, and build stronger connections with the people we care about.

Increased productivity
Sobriety can also lead to increased productivity. When we are not under the influence, we can focus on our goals and work towards achieving them. We can be more efficient, work harder, and achieve more in our personal and professional lives.

More money
Drugs and alcohol can be expensive habits. Sobriety allows us to save money and use it for more productive and fulfilling purposes. We can invest in ourselves, travel, and enjoy experiences that we may have missed out on before.

In conclusion, sobriety is a beautiful journey that comes with many joys and benefits. While the path towards sobriety may be challenging, the rewards are worth it. By staying sober, we can experience mental clarity, improved health, better relationships, increased productivity, and more money. Sobriety allows us to live our best lives and be the best versions of ourselves.

Okay, aside from the same formulaic ending, another perfectly-acceptable bit of writing.

The game, I have to admit, has changed. We’re going to have to learn a new set of rules.

You know what I don’t see in these AI writing samples? Any kind of personal touch. All the more reason for me to keep it personal here at Paul’s Thing, the way friends and readers tell me they like it.

2 thoughts on “I, Robot

  • Two years of no booze for me this month and I’m unlikely to ever start up again. I did it for reasons of health, primarily for high blood pressure. But booze, like smoking, has detrimental effects far beyond raising BP, such as cancer, stroke and other ailments. Your bot left out some of the best benefits of booze cessation. The bot focused on the generalized good that quitting booze brings but it left out how booze affects us as a person. Like the cost, the gastric upset, the smell, the embarrassment of tipsy stupidity, bad driving, bike crashes and terrible hangovers. That said, damn good job of whipping out a bland generalized anodyne impersonal post on booze cessation’s upsides. Nothing to write home about but pretty accurate. And also lacking the characteristic wild pivot to complete falsehoods and errors for no apparent reason that this software sometimes displays. I would not have known it was bot generated.
    So I’m two years off booze but I’m only ‘California sober’, smoking pot about three times a day, purportedly for my arthritis but more like I like the mild euphoria. But not the violent spasmodic coughing, appetite stimulation, cost, demotivation, laziness, smell and generalized feeling that this clever weed has me by the short ones, like booze did all those years. I also read that, naturally, smoking pot puts some of the same detrimental chemicals in your lungs as tobacco supplies. Which of course I really knew all along. So I quit buying it recently and am tapering off with weak homegrown donated weed, heading for cannabis cessation to go with quitting the booze. I’ll need to step up my walking, biking, PT and exercise to compensate. Some say your dreams improve with pot cessation so possibly I’ve got that going for me.
    Tod recently posted…Old Town Wahoo Sailing Canoe Project: UpdateMy Profile

  • Tod, I used to tell myself I’d celebrate making it to 82 (my dad’s age when he died, and since I’m an almost-exact clone of him, probably the end of the line for me as well) with a glass of Famous Grouse, maybe even try weed again to see if I like it, but really I don’t feel the slightest desire to and probably won’t. Even if I do remember at that age, which is unlikely.

    The lack of any sort of personal POV in those AI-generated essays stood out to me, too. But when it comes to term papers and such, teachers don’t want to see anything personal. Which is why I think we’re in for a new set of rules.

    Here’s an idea that needs a lot of work: in the USAF, officers pass around cheat sheets for annual tests. I assume NCOs and enlisted airmen do the same thing. I always thought of it as plain-ass cheating, but toward the end of my career started to think it doesn’t matter whether you come up with answers on your own or get them off the pony … either way, you know (or learn through repetition) the material, and if you’re in a tight spot in the cockpit you’ll know the emergency procedure. So maybe profs and editors will come to some sort of accommodation with students and writers using AI as an assist. But I expect there’ll always remain a gulf between using AI as an assist and failing to have a single thought of one’s own.

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