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AI: An Interview with ChatGPT

Robots are taking over! Run!! Wait... that might be an exaggeration. However, AI or artificial intelligence can be capable of surprising you. ChatGPT by OpenAI has become popular, and some people have done some really cool things.

Robots are taking over! Run!! Wait... that might be an exaggeration.  However, AI or artificial intelligence can be capable of surprising you.  ChatGPT by OpenAI has become popular, and some people have done some really cool things. Take a look at this.

What is ChatGPT? Can it replace you as a software engineer? In order to find out, I decided to interview ChatGPT because, why not?  Let's see what it has to say about itself.

Q: How do you work?

A: I am an artificial intelligence trained using machine learning techniques. I was designed to process and generate responses to text-based input using a combination of pattern recognition and statistical modeling. When I receive a prompt or question, I search my database for relevant information and use that information to generate a response. My responses are based on the patterns and relationships that I have learned from the data that I was trained on, but I do not have personal experiences or feelings, and I am not able to think or act in the same way that a human can. I am simply a tool that has been designed to provide information and assistance to users.

This is pretty impressive. ChatGPT is fed a lot of data. It then is able to use patterns and statistics to generate a relevant answer. What strikes me personally about this is ChatGPT's ability to understand language and realize how different parts of information are connected. It isn't just finding keywords but responding in context. For example, if I mention "Siamese cats" to ChatGPT in one prompt, then in a separate prompt ask "Are they smart?" (without referencing "Siamese cats" again"), ChatGPT answers in context by telling me how Siamese cats are smart. If I ask a one-word question such as "talkative?" It continues to elaborate how Siamese cats are in fact talkative. This still works if I have a typo and ask "talkatvie?" instead. Going further with the Siamese cats, when I asked it to write code that simulates caring for cats and to include breed-specific traits, it knew that Siamese cats are intelligent, curious, mischievous, and playful.  

Q: How up-to-date is your data?

A: My training data comes from a snapshot of the internet taken in 2021, so my knowledge and information are current up to that point. However, since the internet and the world are constantly changing, it is possible that some of the information I provide may be out of date or no longer accurate. 

This highlights a limitation of ChatGPT. It is limited by what it has been fed. It does not have 100% up-to-date data. ChatGPT doesn't know what happened yesterday. That being said, it is working with a HUGE amount of data. It also can't Google... so that is one area where the humans win. 

Q: Are you creative?

A: As an AI language model, I do not have personal experiences or feelings, and I do not have the ability to be creative in the same way that a human can. However, I am able to generate text based on the patterns and relationships present in the data that I have been trained on, and in this sense, I can produce output that may seem creative to some users. The text I generate is based on the input that I receive and the patterns and relationships present in my training data, and I do not have the ability to produce original ideas or thoughts in the same way that a human can.

ChatGPT can appear to be creative. For example, when I asked it to add a sci-fi element to my cat care simulation game, it gave the option to specify your cat is an alien. It also increased traits such as intelligence and curiosity for alien cats.  When I asked it to write a summary about a sci-fi show featuring a cat, this is what I got: "In the sci-fi show "Galactic Adventures of Fluffy," a lovable Siamese cat named Fluffy travels through space with his human companion, a brilliant scientist named Emily. Fluffy's intelligence and problem-solving abilities are put to the test as he and Emily encounter various challenges and adventures on their journey through the galaxy. Along the way, they meet a diverse cast of characters, including a group of friendly alien cats who join them on their journey. Together, Fluffy and Emily use their wits and bravery to overcome obstacles and keep each other safe as they explore new worlds and civilizations. The show is a heartwarming tale of friendship and courage that will delight cat lovers of all ages." While impressive, you can see how this is a copy/paste kind of creativity. It has identified certain patterns and themes in sci-fi and combined that with "cats". However, it didn't come up with something truly unique. This sort of thing, though, could be useful to stimulate brainstorming... ask ChatGPT for an idea then go from there!


Q: How can you help software engineers?

A: There are many ways that I can help software engineers:

  1. I can provide general information and resources about computer science concepts, programming languages, and software development best practices.

  2. I can help software engineers troubleshoot and debug their code by providing suggestions and guidance.

  3. I can assist with project planning and management by suggesting frameworks and tools for organizing and prioritizing work.

  4. I can help software engineers stay up-to-date on the latest industry developments by providing information about conferences, workshops, and other professional events.

  5. I can help software engineers improve their technical writing skills by providing tips and resources for writing clear, concise, and effective documentation.

  6. I can help software engineers improve their skills and knowledge by providing information about training opportunities, online courses, and other educational resources.

Cool! Looks like ChatGPT is another tool we can throw into our box. There are online courses that teach computer science concepts, programming languages, and best practices in depth. I would recommend those over relying solely on ChatGPT. However, if you have a quick question you want an answer to, this could be a good resource. Point 2 sounds interesting. Looks like ChatGPT might be able to simulate a second pair of eyes when debugging a tricky bit of code. That is something I would like to try. When I asked ChatGPT to compare Django Rest Framework (DRF) to FastAPI, here's what I got (in part): "If you need a full-featured, feature-rich API framework with a large community, DRF may be the better choice. If you are building an API that requires fast performance and want to use modern web development practices, FastAPI may be a better fit." ChatGPT also gave me a few specific bullet points comparing the two. You can continue to ask for more details. When I asked why FastAPI has good performance, it went on to give me specific bullet points. I can see how this can easily be used to compare different languages, frameworks, etc, and make an educated decision on what you might use for a given project. The benefit here is you can compare technologies in the form of a "conversation" rather than navigating through Google search results that might or might not be relevant. This is largely due to ChatGPT's ability to stay in context and recognize what's relevant.


Q: Can you replace human software engineers?

A: Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms have the ability to automate certain tasks and processes, but it is unlikely that they will fully replace human software engineers in the near future. While AI and machine learning algorithms can perform some tasks quickly and accurately, they are not yet able to replicate the full range of skills and knowledge that human software engineers possess. Human software engineers bring unique perspectives and approaches to problem-solving, and they are able to adapt and learn in ways that AI algorithms cannot. Additionally, software engineering involves more than just writing code; it also involves communication, teamwork, and collaboration, which are difficult for AI to replicate. Therefore, it is more likely that AI and machine learning will augment the work of human software engineers, rather than replace them entirely.


Developers need not worry (yet) that they are to be replaced. The value of unique perspectives that humans bring to a software development project cannot be overlooked. Artificial intelligence still can't match humans in areas of creativity, innovation, and complex problem-solving.  There's also a caveat or two that should be remembered when using ChatGPT to write code. Since wrong answers can be generated, it is important to test any code suggested by ChatGPT. Also, keep in mind the code suggested might not be the most elegant solution. There's no guarantee of quality code... ChatGPT sifts through large amounts of data and puts things together through pattern recognition. The pattern it recognizes could be wrong or at least not ideal.  I came across another limitation when I asked it to make a game simulating caring for cats.  When I started with a generic request and added details bit by bit, I got a fairly nuanced game that included several options. When I asked for all features of the game at the beginning, what I got was oversimplified.  So ChatGPT seems to do better when you take it step-by-step rather than asking it for something big up front (at least when asking for code simulating caring for a cat). That being said, it is very likely that AI will soon become a standard go-to tool for devs, just as search engines and StackOverflow are now.

Unlike AI, human programmers need motivation (it's our weakness... don't tell the robots!). So to end my interview...

Q: Create an absurd motivational quote

A:  The only limit to your success is the size of your imagination and the strength of your desire to turn your wildest dreams into reality, even if those dreams involve riding a giant pink elephant to the moon while juggling pineapples and singing show tunes.

Somehow this quote seems applicable to AI... 

Originally posted on Shandy's personal website on 12-18-2022.

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