“As spring approaches, it’s a time of renewal and growth, a time to shed the old and embrace the new. The world comes alive again after a long, cold winter, with trees and flowers budding, birds chirping, and the sun shining brighter and longer each day. 

“Spring is a season that inspires us to take action and try new things. It’s a time to clean out the clutter in our lives, both physical and emotional, and make room for new experiences. 

“With spring comes a sense of renewal and rejuvenation, and the energy to tackle new challenges. It’s a time to get outside and be active, to take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather. 

“Spring is also a time of growth and learning. Just as the flowers and trees are starting to bloom, we can also take steps to grow and develop ourselves. Whether it’s learning a new skill, taking a class, or pursuing a new hobby, there’s always room for growth and improvement.”

You might wonder why I set off the above paragraphs with quotation marks. It sounds like something I would write, doesn’t it? 

Quotation marks typically indicate someone else wrote it – and that is true in this case. But it wasn’t a “someone.”

It was crafted by an AI chatbot.

Recently, I engaged for about an hour one evening with ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence language model created and trained by Open AI, a research lab in San Francisco. 

The company launched in 2015, and in 2020 began training GPT-3 in a number of (human) languages, using datasets and information from across the internet. 

In December 2022, the company launched a free preview of the current product, which responds to prompts in what they call “natural language,” meaning natural to humans. In addition to the information that trained the chatbot, the program “learns” from human interaction. 

This “disruptive” new technology has taken off like wildfire. One metric being used is the time it takes a new “thing” to reach 100 million users. For the standard telephone, it took 75 years, while the mobile phone took just 16 years to reach that mark. It took Netflix 10 years; Twitter, 6 years; Facebook, 2 years; Instagram, 30 months; Tiktok, 9 months. Chat GPT took just 2 months to reach the milestone.

I’m a little late to this AI party, but I couldn’t resist after I heard someone describing how smart the bot seemed, and how quickly it responded to prompts or questions. 

I was leery at first. I asked a few benign questions, starting with “Do you have a name?” (“I am ChatGPT,” it replied.) 

I asked for “10 bullet points to help the general public understand AI.” It responded in less than a minute, with the 10 points numbered and in complete sentences. (No. 5. “AI is not infallible and can make mistakes, especially when the data it is based on is biased or incomplete.”)

And THEN! I pasted into my chat window the text of one of my columns from last year, along with a prompt: “Learn the style of the following article and use this writer’s style to write a 500-word article about spring.”

And that, dear readers, is what you see above, edited only for space. It took the bot 2 minutes to “write” 450 words.

Now, don’t worry! I won’t be using my new friend to write all my columns from now on, but what a fun way to be entertained and help it learn for an hour or seven. 

Try it and see for yourself. After all, as Chatman wrote above, spring is a time “to take action and try new things.”