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HomeEconomyOpinion - Ronaldo Lemos: ChatGPT and the art of asking questions

Opinion – Ronaldo Lemos: ChatGPT and the art of asking questions


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The name sucks: ChatGPT. Despite this, ChatGPT caught on. In January 2023, this artificial intelligence capable of processing texts reached 100 million users. Not bad for a tool that officially launched on November 30, 2022. It’s hard to think of another platform on the internet that managed to reach 100 million users in just over a month of launch.

For those unfamiliar, ChatGPT is capable of answering questions, chatting, telling stories and jokes, organizing and summarizing texts, writing video scripts, essays, and so on. He has been trained with much of the human knowledge available online until 2021 and is able to speak fluently from football to technical or academic topics.

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With so many capabilities, the question that has been asked by many people is: how to use ChatGPT in practice? The key point to answer this question is the so-called “prompt”, or in other words, the question that is formulated for the platform. ChatGPT is inert until the user enters some text, question or statement to provoke it. The quality of the answer directly depends on the quality of the question.

Obvious questions will generate obvious answers. So much so that companies specializing in creating and selling “prompts” for artificial intelligence platforms such as ChatGPT are emerging. The consequence is that the art of writing “prompts” is becoming a new form of programming. More accessible to people without technical knowledge, it is true, but equally complex if the idea is to generate complex results when interacting with an artificial intelligence.

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One of the speculations is that ChatGPT is a threat to academic work. That’s because students can easily answer tests and do academic work with ChatGPT. He is the perfect glue, the Saint Expedite of the lazy. As a teacher I adopted an opposite stance. In my class at Schwarzman College the use of ChatGPT is mandatory. All jobs MUST be done by him. However, the grade will be given by the quality of the “prompts” that the students made to arrive at the result. In other words, I will grade the quality of the questions, not the answer.

The art of making a prompt good isn’t simple. First, it is worth remembering that ChatGPT also works for mathematics and programming. In these fields its usefulness is undeniable. For example, a programmer can use the platform to find errors in code, or ask the platform to rewrite the code in a shorter way. In the field of humanities, a tip is to write more complex prompts, using parameters. For example, instead of asking a simple question, ask a qualified one as follows: “Topic: Brazilian foreign policy; Context: Academic work; Demand: Write work structure; Language: Academic; Tone: Formal”.

You can play around with the parameters and get totally different results. For example, I wrote the following prompt: “Topic: Brazilian foreign policy; Context: TV show; Demand: Write a joke; Language: Informal; Tone: Comedy”. The result was: “Why does Brazilian foreign policy always look like a game of chess? Because there is always some country playing with Brazil as a pawn”. Sleep with this one.

It’s over – Use only Google for search

Already – use ChatGPT for search

It’s coming – use TikTok for search

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