South Park’s latest episode, called Deep Learning, nailed the opportunity cost of ChatGPT and generative AI… Authenticity.
The quick summary (ChatGPT assisted):
Stan and his friends use ChatGPT to write romantic texts and school essays. The episode exposes the tool’s underlining issue with inauthenticity, as Stan and his friends rely on it to impress others, leading to a false representation of their abilities. The app is also shown to be a means of cheating in school, giving an unfair advantage to those who use it. The episode ostensibly highlights the importance of authenticity and the dangers of relying on technology to create an artificial version of oneself.
Yea, ChatGPT write most of that for me. But I edited it to be more authentic to my understanding of the episode, and its relationship to the idea of “authenticity.”
Stan wanted to reply to his Girlfriend Wendy’s text, with a more thoughtful response, so he copy & pasted her text into ChatGPT to create a response. But when they meet in person, she asked specific questions about his messages, and Stan couldn’t answer because he didn’t experience what ChatGPT wrote.
This is a perfect example of how we can loose authenticity when generative AI is used without the writers authentic connection to the response.
What does this mean? ChatGPT’s response to my prompt below illustrates the issue.
Prompt: Write a short paragraph summarizing Master by Robert Green, from the perspective of Robert Greene, in a third person voice
Response: “Master” by Robert Greene is a guidebook for achieving mastery in any field, based on extensive research and interviews with accomplished individuals. From Leonardo da Vinci to Mozart to modern-day business leaders, Greene identifies key traits and habits that enable one to become a master, such as persistence, focus, and a willingness to learn from failures. He emphasizes the importance of deliberate practice, finding mentors, and embracing apprenticeship as a path to mastery. The book also delves into the psychological and emotional obstacles that can hinder progress towards mastery, and offers strategies for overcoming them. Ultimately, “Master” is a compelling and informative read for anyone seeking to achieve excellence in their chosen pursuit.
The response is accurate and I agree with each sentence, but isn’t authentic to:
- My understanding of the book,
- My takeaways, that I apply to my life, and
- How my life experience influenced my interpretation.
My actual thought on the book is much more relatable:
Kevin’s actual thought: I’m an autodidact that loves to learn, but have always had trouble mastering what I was training for. My way of learning a skill was to read several books, talk to a lot of people that do it, and jump head-first into trying it myself. I’ve done this with sailing and triathlons, just to find I was mediocre at booth. But when I started Jiu-Jitsu and Spearfishing I found trainers that have been practicing for more than a decade, and I learned how to improve in a fraction of the time.
After reading Mastery by Robert Greene, I realized how learning from a “master” can improve the speed of becoming proficient in any skill. The book emphasizes the importance of apprenticeship to a highly-skilled master and a methodology to learn quickly and deeply. But what resonated with me was his suggestion to use our own unique experiences to build out own methods, and not just copying the masters’. [End thought]
What we write has to have a connection to our values and beliefs. This helps us be more authentic.
Writing with Authenticity
A some what clinical definition for authenticity is “the degree to which a person’s actions are congruent with his or her values and desires, despite external pressures to social conformity.”
Your values and desires are heavily influenced and developed by your past experiences.
So writing authentically with ChatGPT, requires a more personal touch.
An easy way to do this is by explaining experiences you’ve had, in relationship to the topic you’re discussing.
Basic paragraph example about link building:
Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to improve your website’s search engine ranking. The higher the quality of the links, the better the results. Strategies include creating valuable content, outreach to other website owners, and guest blogging on relevant sites. This can significantly improve your website’s visibility and drive more traffic. – ChatGPT
More Authentic paragraph example:
I’ve been link building consistently since 2012, where I started freelancing for agencies in New York City. These agencies mainly focused on enterprise digital marketing, so I was usually the only person that knew how to build links. This meant that I had to figure it out through deep research, then growth my own methods many trial & errors. So my understanding of link building is that it falls into three buckets:
- Paid: Building links by paying a publisher or website to place a link. E.g. paid guest posting.
- Natural: Finding links through outreach and providing value to the website. E.g. using broken link building to fix a site’s user experience by finding broken links then giving them content that can replace the broken one.
- Earned: Creating content so unique that people want to share it. E.g. A unique study with datapoints that nobody else has, then marketing the study through social and paid promotions.
Simply including your own experience can have a big impact on authenticity.
This simple visual from Rob Lennon, breaks down the elements of strong prompt engineering.
But even with this inanely awesome prompt, the results don’t come from your experiences, and can lead to inauthentic outputs.
So we need to add in a “personal experience” section to the prompt, and then make followup changes, to customize it to include experiences.
A few quick add-ons to integrate your personal experiences:
- An antidote
- A specific moment you lived
- A lesson you learned
- Act as yourself (e.g. a writer, or accountant)
Let’s create an authentic prompt for a LinkedIn post about this article.
Prompt: “Act as a writer, and write an informative succinct LinkedIn post, with hashtags, about writing ChatGPT prompts to be more authentic by integrating the writer’s personal experiences. Output is up to 3 paragraphs should be no longer than 2 sentences.”
Using the “act as” hack you can prompt the output to act as your professional role it needs more personal experience.
Results: “I’ve discovered that the key to creating authentic prompts is to draw from personal experiences. By weaving our unique perspectives and insights into the prompts, we can better connect with our audience and inspire meaningful conversations. #writingtips #authenticity #personalinsights
Whether it’s a funny anecdote, a poignant moment, or a lesson learned, incorporating personal experiences into our prompts adds depth and relatability. It’s a way to infuse our own voices into the prompts. #personalvoice #writingstyle #creativity
So the next time you’re writing prompts, don’t be afraid to dig deep and draw from your own experiences. It’s a powerful way to create more engaging and authentic content. #writingprompt #contentcreation #authenticwriting”
But this could still use my personal experience. I’ve found that including follow up prompts, to add another sentence or paragraph, works better than rewriting the initial prompt results.
Here’s my followup prompt.
Followup Prompt: “Add in a powerful sentence, in the tone of Simon Sinek, explaining how I’m using ChatGPT to write this LinkedIn post for my latest blog article on The Missing Linq site, and enticing readers to click this link https://missinglinq.purelinq.com/authenticity-prompting-chatgpt-copywriting/
Results: “And, if you’re curious, about how to use ChatGPT more authentically you won’t want to miss my latest blog article on The Missing Linq, where I delve into the power of authenticity in writing and share tips for integrating personal experiences into your prompts. Read the full article and take your writing to the next level!
Yes… I used ChatGPT to help write this post.
But this doesn’t feel like my experience is woven in enough, so lets manually include it:
Kevin’s personal experience: “I was watching South Park Studios‘s latest episode about ChatGPT and it was brilliant.
Stan, and his friends, are using the tool to write papers, reply to girlfriend’s text, and solve problems.
But when people start asking detailed questions behind what they wrote, they realized that it didn’t reflect their true experiences.
This got me thinking…”
Closing this out
ChatGPT is a powerful tool to produce content faster, but if you don’t take care in how you write prompts it will seem very inauthentic. The latest episode of South Park really highlights that.
So the next time you’re using generative AI tools to create your content, remember to build prompts that highlight your own experiences, or even update it manually as needed.