ChatGPT: Smash or Pass?

ChatGPT is a computer program(s) at the current apex of artificial intelligence. There are several versions. I heard of it four weeks ago and decided to check it out. They are Large Language Models that can read the entire Internet in seconds and answer questions or “prompts”. In addition, you can have conversations with the thing. Just as if it were a person.

I found one and downloaded it to my phone. It is called ConversationAI. Subsequently, I’ve chatted with it three times. I am impressed. However, my psych-girl not so much.

The always open door to my psych-girl's office
confidential, face-to-face conversation

When I shared my experiences with her, she gave it a “yeah, but …”.

My Prompts

have been:

  1. How do I best communicate with a Highly Sensitive Person?
  2. What precipitates, biological or social, an onset of fibromyalgia?
  3. Can you make sense of burnout and Camus’s Sisyphus?

Like I said, I’ve been blown away. In seconds, it responds with accurate and thorough information. My psych-girl said, “So you’re testing it.” Yes, I am. Because of my curious nature. In addition, maybe it can help me with some things? It’s free! Whereas psych-girl is rather expensive. Furthermore, it’s available 24/7 without an appointment! Better still (maybe) last time I was hammered.

ConversationAI is not judgmental. So far.

My Impression

is I’m impressed. One of Psych-girl’s concerns regarding my well-being is that I’m an isolated extrovert. I need people to talk with. But I’m really picky. Your average ‘man-on-the-street’ doesn’t cut it.

ChatGPT did a good job answering my prompt regarding fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is what drove me to therapy


Here, I was not satisfied as I thought CAI fell short - repeating itself no matter my approach.
My last prompt


I disagree with Camus's conclusion that Sisyphus is happy.
My copy of Camus’s essay

I don’t think burnout was a thing when Camus wrote (1940) his essay. If it were he might have come to a different conclusion. Perhaps then, this idea that suffering is heroic might not be so prevalent.

Here, I agree with CAI – the world is “chaotic and meaningless”. Ultimately. There is no meaning in this Darwinian world. Other than survival and reproduction. However, we humans have always attempted to give it meaning. Since we became self-conscious, we have been searchers.

However, Chris Hedges may have come closest to the truth when he wrote War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002). And of course Rollo May’s The Meaning of Anxiety (1977) references Camus.

Here, the conversation begins to fall apart.

What does really matter in life?

In other words - it's up to me.
At the same time …

In Conclusion

next to real competent psychoanalysis with a really competent provider – this was pretty damn good. Moreover, fun. And like I said before – free and available 24/7.

However, like psychotherapy, it’s not for everyone. In addition, I think it could be dangerous for several reasons. Chat GPT programs don’t really know you. They only know what you tell it. You can lie.

In other words – you can mislead it and it can mislead you. Unlike really competent therapy. I don’t think it’s a substitute. Warning, Chat GPT may be hazardous to your health.

Have you tried it? What do you think? Let me know in the comments, or just stop by and let me know if you might give it a try.

13 thoughts on “ChatGPT: Smash or Pass?

  1. A huge difference between authentic, competent psychotherapy and chatting with ChatGPT is body language signaling. What Psych-girl calls “leaking”. I was taught in a specialized training that communication is 93% non-verbal. That percentage is up for debate; but the sense is that there is truth in the statement.
    Now, ChatGPT programs may become super life-like. Meaning with a Computer generated person who can “see” and “read” you. But still … . Warning, may be hazardous to your health. However, so is damn near everything.

  2. I’m with your psych-gal in not thinking much of them. I’m too familiar with how they work. They’re powerful tools, no doubt, but they’re still “stochastic parrots” — just very impressive search engines that can speak English.

  3. Based on a comment you made on my blog recently and what you wrote about here, are you suffering from burn out? What have you been up to that’s burned you out?

      1. Sounds more like ennui than burn out, but that may just be semantics. Maybe you need a new hobby/interest/approach to shake things up?

      2. Ha! Maybe you should be a psych-guy. Psych-girl suggested pickle ball. I’d never heard of it- so I looked it up. Now YouTube keeps me posted. Not for me.

      3. Pickle ball, huh. Yeah, probably not my cup of tea, either (although I did enjoy racquetball long ago). But there are so many things in the world to explore, from art to zoology. The trick is finding something that “lights you up”.

        As one example, back in 2010 I was in a bad place mentally. Work, which I’d always enjoyed until then, had gotten bad and my dissatisfaction with it and life in general was extreme. I was familiar with baseball, of course, but had never really gotten into any sport. I found myself watching baseball games — so soothing and relaxing and different from anything in my life at the time. I got seriously into it (even spending hundreds of hours writing software to grab and process stats from MLB site). It gave me a whole new thing in my life and turned me around. It took me outside myself.

        The Navajo outlook is grounded on the idea of “walking in beauty and harmony”. I’ve long thought that was a pretty good life goal. For all the ugly and strife, there is also beauty and wonder.

  4. I’m really impressed with the thing’s ability to synthesize two separate references, draw conclusions, and even say, “No, that’s not what I’m saying.” However, that’s disconcerting about being able to distort the conversation with half-truths or lies. Ultimately, though intriguing, it may prove to be just as much a time hole as chasing various YouTube videos… but “if you have the time” (Brothers Osborne, “All Night” — check it out).

  5. After sleeping on it, this: Chat is available 24/7 and is free. It’s likely smarter than 95% of the human population; but not absolute.
    So, bored, I could open up the Blue River Cafe, pour myself some whiskey, and call on Chat and start a really interesting conversation. Say, “What is the meaning of life?” At some point its “stochastic parrot” properties would emerge as they did in my chat with Chat about Camus and burnout. And, as I did, I could politely ring off.
    Or, continue … . At some point would Chat ask if I’d been drinking? And advise me to “not drink too much.” Or, politely but firmly tell me not to call if I’ve been drinking?
    Like psychotherapy, as I said, this tool is not for everyone. And like psychotherapy can be dangerous. But Chat, unlike the former, might be hazardous to your health. Whereas professional analysis, while expensive and not available 24/7, more likely than not (stochastic) will benefit your health and well-being.

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