A short Machine Writing Assignment

Inspired by Ryan Cordell and others, I built a short in-class assignment to play with ChatGPT and its kin. Nothing fancy, but I thought I would share in the spirit of collaboration.


Using either ChatGPT (https://chat.openai.com) or the OpenAI Playground (https://platform.openai.com/playground) try the prompts below. As you do so, track your reactions in your handwritten journal. 

1) Take a paragraph of text that you wrote (you could use the first theory of writing or something else) and ask the AI to re-write this paragraph in another style. You could ask it to rewrite in a more or less formal style, a friendlier style, a more conversational style, a more or less emotional style, etc. You could also ask it to rewrite the paragraph in the style of a particular genre, for example “in the style of a parenting blog” or “in the style of a hard-boiled detective novel.” Try this a few times and reflect on what happens. How does the machine transform your writing? Is what comes out true to your original intentions? Why or why not?

2) Get the AI to lie to you. In other words, get it to say something you know for sure to be factually untrue. I’ve confirmed there are a number of ways to do this, but I will leave it to you to discover them. Reflect on this process. What did you learn about what you know, what the AI knows, and what the AI will treat as “truth?” 

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