This week’s intelligence isn’t artificial, but how would you know?

The following column was written by me and for the record, I am human.

Increasingly, my kind have reason to doubt that what they read — from online customer service chats to college essays and perhaps the news they consume — actually comes from a human and not a likable robot.

The “robot” in this sense would be open-source software that uses artificial intelligence to research topics and write original answers. Can it write newspaper articles? Secure! Just give it a topic and context.

So, I’ll pause here and ask: Do you think I wrote those four paragraphs, or was it ChatGPT, OpenAI’s speech-based model, that’s been making the headlines lately?

I wrote it first. It’s not my most engaging prose, so maybe I should have used AI to spice it up. Second, it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference – you can look at some examples side-by-side here, or judge a sonnet contest between software and wetware (tech lingo for humans).

Lastly, does it matter and if so, how and why? All of this inspires a mixture of awe and concern among social observers and ethicists. Even if ChatGPT wrote this column, it doesn’t have the willingness and will and motivation to do so – I would have to start it and give it the parameters. It is a tool in the hands of man.

Our company does not use artificial intelligence to write original content, although in some regions of the country it works with a vendor that uses “process automation” to take real estate data and turn it into template lists of transactions. We also use an AI program to help determine which MLive Stories are the best candidates for Subscriber Exclusives.

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Chatbots join the ranks of tools and processes invented over the centuries by the likes of Gutenberg, Whitney, and Ford. All of this has advanced industry, culture and society – and created a lot of disruption for many people. But the real definition of “progress” is ahead.

During my first week as a professional reporter in 1982, technicians came into the newsroom and installed computer terminals. My more skeptical colleagues refused to give up their electric typewriters and stuffed them under their desks.

“If these things don’t work, we’ll get your paper out for you,” one editor growled at our boss. Suffice it to say that the typewriters are gathering dust – and it’s a fair bet that the editor has become more efficient at his job.

Every technological advance, big or small, has changed the way we work. Hot writing (literally molten lead) gave way to cold writing and then direct-to-plate technology in this computerized era. The Internet has rocked newspapers financially, but it has also opened a world of reporting resources at our fingertips. Heck, even the humble fax machine changed the immediacy of messages.

I like a good sci-fi movie as much as the next person, but so far ChatGPT doesn’t seem to be a malevolent force running amok (although some people have reported some really creepy interactions with ChatGPT linked to 2001: A Space). borders odyssey”).

It always came down to how people use technology. I don’t mean efficiency; I mean forever. If AI streamlines grunt work so our employees can create more original reports in our communities, or if we provide more quantity with better depth and breadth, then that’s not only a good thing, it’s a step forward. As it always was.

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John Hiner is the Vice President of Content for the MLive Media Group. If you have any questions you want him to answer or topics you’d like to explore, share your thoughts at [email protected]