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 could lie about how awesome they are. Still, I ask myself: What is AI useful for? at the momentbefore civilization ends?
I hate writing headlines. I spend hours composing an article, but most people only ever see the few words I place 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.
ChatGPT can help here. When I feel stuck, I started asking the bot to recommend headlines for articles. I usually give him a few paragraphs of the article and ask him for a list of headline recommendations. Most of what it conveys to me is bad or cliche. A few ideas are fine. I won’t use any of these ideas literally, but sometimes they point me in directions I hadn’t thought of. I don’t do this every time, or even most of the time, I write a headline. It’s just a nice tool to have on hand whenever I get stuck.
This works for all types of brainstorming. For example, you might ask for a list of party themes. Most ideas will be bad, or at least a little shameful, but something you get might be interesting enough to be worth building on. If you need a bunch of ideas fast, just asking ChatGPT for a list might just be enough to get you started.
Change your tone
Some people find it difficult to be assertive when writing a request. Others find it difficult to be diplomatic. ChatGPT is really useful here. You can paste an email or message you wrote and ask for a different tone. For example, you could insert something that you know to be wishy-washy and ask for a more assertive version, or you could insert something that sounds stuffy and ask for a looser version.
This will feel strange, and I don’t recommend you just send whatever the bot gives you, but as I said in the previous section, the changes ChatGPT made could help you see how your text is coming across, and Give you suggestions on how to change it. In the same way, you can also use the service as a rough text editor: just ask the bot to clean up your texts or point out any errors. Granted, it won’t work perfectly, but it does give you a few useful suggestions.
Come up with fake names
We know with absolute certainty that AI is good at inventing things. That’s why ChatGPT is a good place to start when you need a convincing list of fake names. I used this when testing software where I asked for a list of fake names and addresses to put in a spreadsheet. It is great for creating dummy data.
Alternatively, you can use this when writing a fiction or naming a character in a game: just ask for a long list of fake names and use any name you like. I’ve heard this is invaluable for dungeon masters designing their own campaigns. If you ask for a list of dwarven or elvish names, you’ll get several plausible examples.
Look up keyboard shortcuts or spreadsheet formulas
One area where large language models work well is when searching for specific things to do with your computer. For example, if you know there’s a keyboard shortcut but can’t remember it, you can ask ChatGPT to get the answer instantly. The same goes for formulas in spreadsheet programs like Excel or Google Sheets — they usually even come with instructions on how to use them. This also works for terminal commands. Yes, you could google these things, but it’s an example of something that’s really faster with ChatGPT and similar services.
And yes code
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 when you need to take care of code someone else wrote. You can provide code written in one language and ask the bot to rewrite it in another language. Or you can simply ask the bot to write code that accomplishes a specific task.
None of this will be of any use to someone who doesn’t already know how to code, because in most cases what the bot produces isn’t quite work, and this is where the expertise of a real programmer is most crucial. This isn’t all that different from the way I’ve talked about using ChatGPT in my other tips: it can certainly help you write, but it really helps if you can already write so you can tidy things up can.
And that’s why I mention the code. Hearing how programmers are using this service made me think about how I might use it and I’m glad I did. Certainly it won’t completely change the way I do my job, but it will make me faster from time to time.