On October 13 2020, there was a turning point in my life, it was in that day that a friend of mine sent me a link that talks about a reddit user u/thegentlemetre who was making very deep and long answers in seconds, over several minutes or hours over several days, in r/AskReddit. Instantly I checked his profile and became crazy about the kind of answers he gave, I couldn’t believe this was a bot. It was at that moment that I knew something big was happening. If a guy using a bot made such profound answers, what would happen when everyone had access to that technology?
I spent days thinking about the applications and possibilities that this technology opened in our society, I discussed it with several friends and I realized that this type of technology could change the lives of millions of people, impressively at that time I still did not understand anything…
After a while I found out that I could apply to the OpenAI beta for access to the AI, so I went straight to putting my name on that waiting list.
Weeks passed and my hopes were fading, how many more people had to be waiting for months before me?..
At that point I came across a DotCSV video, it was only at that moment that I understood what the UI to use GPT-3 was like, and it blew my mind, it was a text box, nothing more. As if I were in a new google docs or word document, but ultra advanced, in which just giving a little context could make more text appear “magically”, and it not only served to answer questions, but it served for everything, pretty much anything I could think of at the time: a script, a Q&A, an essay, conversations, comicfier, analysis, generator of names, questions, ideas, stories and more… WTFFFF I REALLY WANT THAT!
I could not stand the wait, I needed to access the beta, so I sent the forms again, and a month later again, and again… I sent it like 5 times, each time with a different format and ideas. It was crazy.
There came a time when I was on vacation and I went with my family to the largest pool in the world, I was at the most random moment possible, slacklining through hanging pipes, when an email arrived. It was the email I had been waiting for 341 days.
When I saw my cell phone and read that there was an email from OpenAI, I thought it was a lie, so I opened the notification and read: “Welcome to the private beta of our API…”
I automatically grabbed my things and went straight to my apartment to play in the playground, I was with a friend and my family, I think they seriously thought I had finally lost what was left of my sanity.
Since that day, I have been using GPT-3 almost daily in all the ways that I can think of, I did a essay, generators, conversations and I was each day grasping the style of how to use it efficiently.
When I told my friends about this, they usually looked at it the wrong way, they told me that I was going to be stupid using GPT-3, that they were not going to know how to use it and that it was probably not going to be useful for what they were doing (they were studying journalism and audiovisual direction ).
I always took those comments in the same way as when my parents or teachers said that I was going to be stupid from playing the computer so much or using my cell phone. I understand that when people say that kind of thing it is because they are on the “peak of Mount Stupid” according to the Dunning-Kruger effect.
I just wanted to show them how it worked so I could break down the myths and barriers that automatically form in their heads when they think about this, but they rejected it. In a Lex Friedman’s podcast I rescue an indirect quote from what Wojciech Zaremba (co-founder of OpenAI) says about this topic:
“There is always a resistance to innovation, but when you manage to convince a person to interact with that invention is when they can realize that it is useful and immediately understand, and if the product is well designed, they fall in love with that innovation.”
After a while it was that I began to give a real and practical use to this technology, I began to use it in my philosophy classes. I took advantage of the fact that my classes were online and as the students, me and the teacher raised reflections or questions, I wrote them down as examples for GPT-3, and eventually I began to generate questions, some that did not make any sense, a few others were impressive and the most were decent but not perfect. This is very interesting, since contrary to what I thought before, the ones that served me the most were the decent but not perfect ones.
That was what I needed, what GPT-3 put on me served to my head as a creative push of inspiration and ideas to think about very good reflections and questions, which I ended up applying in my class.
These types of situations were the ones that taught me the real potential of this tool. Its purpose was not to generate perfect answers or complete my work, but rather to be a complement that enhances and deepens my thoughts, my creativity and my ideas. It is a joint work between the AI and my head.
I really think this is the most important thing to understand when using GPT-3 or Codex.
Since I took that perspective, I have managed to make use of GPT-3 and Codex in many aspects of my life: I use it for university, for my personal projects, for programming, for instagram and twitter, to think and even to write many sentences in this text so far.
In the same way that today I always prefer to leave my house with my cell phone in my pocket, I always prefer to have an open tab of the playground in my browser.
Currently I am in the task of expanding this revolutionary treasure that I have in my hands to people who can take advantage of it, I am teaching my friends, family and I am organizing a discussion at my university so that my philosophy professors can know and occupy this.
Finally I wanted to regret if there are writing errors (English is not my strongest language), I wanted to say that I am open to any questions or comments and I also wanted to thank the entire OpenAI team, because what they do inspires and changes people’s lives.