The impact of ChatGPT on our lives: findings and reflections

Who these days is not concerned with the question of how AI systems, such as ChatGPT, will change our work and life? For example, many people have already experimented with ChatGPT and many enjoy using it. Some think that AI will take over large parts of our work in the future, while others are skeptical. Here are some recent findings I've come across and some reflections.

Dan Ariely's Contest

Gwenda Schlundt Bodien told me about a competition of sorts that behavioral economist Dan Ariely had organized on his website. I will try to recount it from memory (I have not read it myself, so any inaccuracies are my fault). He asked his readers to indicate which answer to a question they liked better: Ariely's answer or ChatGPT's answer. If I remember correctly, the question was, will I still be living my New Year's resolutions in August?

Gwenda told me that ChatGPT came up with a comprehensive and reasoned answer, while Ariely simply came up with a 'no' answer. I understood from Gwenda that Ariely proclaimed that his own answer was better. However, Gwenda indicated that she found ChatGPT's answer better and more nuanced.

Skepticism about the depth of AI output and retrospective on chess predictions

I regularly hear people claim that you can tell from ChatGPT's answers that they were not written by a human being. For example, I recently heard Arend Jan Boekestijn (in his podcast with Tim de Wit) say something along the lines of: the answers are somewhat superficial and lack depth.

While thinking about this, I had to think back to how chess computers were talked about a few decades ago. Many people liked such a computer as a toy, but were convinced that it could never beat the best human chess players. They thought the computers would lack that "je ne sais quoi" that could only be found in complex and creative human thinking. In the meantime, all human top chess players have had no chance against chess computers for years.

AI bots and consumer experiences

It seems as if we experience a kind of competition when we think about the comparison between AI and our own thinking. Speaking of which, yesterday I came across this article . It discusses how the use of AI service robots is increasing and how the anthropomorphization of these robots impacts consumer experiences during service delivery. The research focuses on consumer mindset (competition versus cooperation) and how it affects attitudes towards anthropomorphic AI robots.
The results show that consumers with a competitive mindset respond less positively to anthropomorphic robots, while consumers with a collaborative mindset respond more positively.

Comparison of AI chatbots and healthcare doctors

Today I came across another study. This research examined whether an AI chatbot could provide comparable quality and empathy in responses to patient questions as doctors. In this study, 195 randomly selected patient questions from a social media forum (Reddit's r/AskDocs) were reviewed by a team of licensed healthcare professionals. They compared the answers of the chatbot and the doctors to the questions.
The results showed that the chatbot answers were preferred over the doctors' answers and were rated significantly higher on both quality and empathy. The picture below shows these results. 

Please note: this survey was conducted using Chat GPT3.5. Meanwhile, it is much better ChatGPT4 on the market. I expect that with this new system the results would be even more to the human disadvantage.

AI as a valuable collaboration partner: opportunities and responsibilities

It seems inevitable to me that AI systems like ChatGPT will have a growing influence on our work and lives. The examples I mentioned above range from competitions and comparisons with chess computers to the integration of AI in consumer experiences and healthcare. Skeptics question AI's depth and ability to mimic complex human thought processes. But I think we have to watch out for some misplaced human arrogance.

In some ways, we already cannot match the intellectual, creative and even social achievements of AI systems. So we can count on our fingers that in the future we will be surpassed even more in many ways. I think we should see AI not as a competitor, but as a potentially valuable tool. And a tool that we can address as a powerful collaboration partner. I certainly think that AI can also bring many risks and dangers, but also many useful applications in the most diverse human activities. I have no idea what the future will look like with advanced AI and I wonder if even experts do. I think it is very important to follow developments closely and, where possible, to steer them. Firstly, it means that we must make an effort to contain risks. Secondly, it means that we should use the benefits of AI to make the world more pleasant and better.