AI is like that powerful that it will inevitably destroy the world – at least that’s what the people who sell AI software keep saying, and I can’t think of any reason why they would lie about how great they are. Still, I can’t help but wonder: what is AI useful for? straight awaybefore it ends civilization?
I did some experimenting and talked to my friends on LinkedIn and Mastodon. These are the best use cases I could personally find.
I hate writing headlines. I spend hours creating an article, but most people will only see the few words I choose to put at the top. That’s why I sometimes spend as much time on the headline and first paragraph of an article as I do on the rest of the article combined.
ChatGPT can help here. When I feel stuck, I start asking the bot to recommend headlines for articles. I usually give it a few paragraphs of the article and ask it for a list of headline recommendations. Most of what it gives me is bad, or cliche. A few ideas are good. I will never take any of these ideas literally, but sometimes they point me in a direction I hadn’t thought of. I don’t do this every or even most times I write a headline. It’s just a nice tool to have on hand when I feel stuck.
This works for all kinds of brainstorming sessions. For example, you can ask him for a list of party themes. Most ideas will be bad, or at least cringe a bit, but something you get might be interesting enough to build on. If you need a bunch of ideas quickly, asking ChatGPT for a list might be just enough to get you started.
Change your tone
Some people have trouble being assertive when writing a request. Others have a hard time being diplomatic. ChatGPT is very useful here. You can paste an email or message you wrote and ask for a different tone. For example, you could stick something that you know is lame and ask for a more assertive version, or stick something that sounds lame and ask for it to be more casual.
This is going to feel weird, and I don’t recommend you simply send what the bot gives you, but as I mentioned in the previous section, the changes made by ChatGPT can help you notice how your writing comes across and your give ideas on how to change it. You can also use the service as a raw copy editor, in much the same way: just ask the bot to clean up your writing or point out any errors. It won’t work perfectly, granted, but you’ll get a few helpful suggestions.
Coming up with fake names
Making things up is one thing we know AI is good at. That’s why if you need a convincing list of fake names, ChatGPT is a great place to start. I’ve used this while testing software, asking for a list of fake names and addresses to paste into a spreadsheet. It’s great at producing dummy data.
You can also use this when writing a work of fiction or naming a character in a game: just ask for a long list of fake names and use the ones you like. I’ve heard this is invaluable for Dungeon Masters designing their own campaigns. Ask for a list of dwarf or elves names and you’ll get several plausible examples.
Look up keyboard shortcuts or spreadsheet formulas
One area where large language models work well is looking up specific things related to your computer. For example, if there’s a keyboard shortcut that you know exists but can’t remember, asking ChatGPT can get you the answer instantly. The same goes for formulas in spreadsheet software such as Excel or Google Sheets. If you do, you will usually even get a guide on how to use it. This also works for Terminal commands. Yes, you could Google these things, but it’s an example of something genuinely faster to do with ChatGPT and similar services.
And yes, codes
The answer I hear most often when I ask friends if they use ChatGPT at work is “Yes, for writing code.” I’m not a programmer, but the use cases are pretty remarkable. You can paste code and ask the bot what it is doing. This is useful if you are asked to take over the maintenance of code that someone else has written. You can provide code written in one language and ask the bot to rewrite it in another language. Or you can just ask the bot to write code that does something specific.
None of this will be useful to someone who doesn’t yet know how to write code, because what the bot comes up with usually doesn’t rather work, which is where the expertise of a real coder is most crucial. This isn’t that different from how I talked about using ChatGPT in my other tips: it can of course help you with your writing, but it’s very helpful if you already know how to write so you can clean things up.
And that’s why I mention the code. When I heard how programmers use this service, I thought of ways I could use it, and I’m glad I did. None of this will completely change the way I do my job, sure, but it will speed me up from time to time.