Chatbots can't think outside the box, unleashing even more nonsense filler words onto the world. A few weeks ago, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, sent an email to the newsroom about clichés. To paraphrase: He wanted us to try harder to avoid them because nobody comes to the website or the print magazine to be bored and annoyed. Did I think that this email was directed at me, personally, and that it referred to the unacceptable number of clichés in my writing? Well, he included a long list of specific words and phrases to avoid, and several of them looked … familiar. Needless to say, nonsense filler phrases such as needless to say are bound to slip into even not-lazy writing. Clichés aren't necessarily inherently bad turns of phrase—in fact, they're generally good, and that's how they become clichés. The first person to say “in the wake of” should have been proud of themselves. It was an evocative boat metaphor. But now it is horrible. And, sadly, this human failure is spreading via machines. ChatGPT, the popular bot released to the public by OpenAI late last year, is obsessed with clichés and uses them all the time. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the use of the chatbot has already become common in areas of life where people write formulaically and blandly— student essays, cover letters, BuzzFeed quizzes, etc. If I wanted to reapply for my own job, ChatGPT suggests I begin […]
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