ChatGPT: Tool that helps even the lazy write magnificently 

The OpenAI logo on screen with ChatGPT website

The OpenAI logo on screen with ChatGPT website on January 8, 2023.

Photo credit: AFP

Do you have something you must write but lack inspiration? 

A free robotic tool you can access on the internet, which was released to the public in November last year, might be all you need.

It can write letters, spin quick articles and essays, solve mathematical problems, generate a song or poem for a specific occasion, generate sermons, reports, and a lot more. 

ChatGPT has been on the lips of many in the tech space due to its capabilities.

We asked the chatbot to write a 300-word article on the topic “how to make money in Kenya” and the content – error-free, numbered and well-punctuated – was ready in less than a minute. (see separate article) 

Our searches showed that the text it generated was not copied from any existing website, meaning it passed the plagiarism test.

We also asked it to create a poem for a wife’s birthday and, in less than a minute, it came up with four stanzas packed with lovey-dovey messaging and killer rhymes that William Shakespeare would have spent hours mulling over.

So good is the chatbot that it recently scored a C+ in a law school examination in the US.

The professor at Minnesota University Law School who administered the test to the chatbot said it “displayed a strong grasp of basic legal rules and had consistently solid organisation and composition” in the essay writing question.


Noted AFP: “The (ChatGPT) results have been so good that educators have warned it could lead to widespread cheating and even signal the end of traditional classroom teaching methods.”

The capability of ChatGPT to help people generate material they can present as their original work is problematic. 

One of the most threatened sectors is the creative field.

There are fears that the chatbot may copy an artiste’s style and generate material without any form of recognition or compensation to the creator.

Kenya Copyright Board Executive Director, Edward Sigei, on Thursday, published an opinion in the Daily Nation on how such a service threatens creativity and artistes.

“Social media is rife with works created by AI (artificial intelligence) from musical compositions and visual art in the style of artistes who were never consulted about the use of their work,” Mr Sigei wrote. 

“Artistes have now come out to express their concern and condemn the use of their work for machine learning.” 

Mr Kaluka Wanjala, a blogger at the news firm TechArena, says content creators should be very afraid of ChatGPT.

“ChatGPT will have a big impact on content creation. Since it can generate quality articles in seconds, it threatens creators the most. These can be journalists, copywriters and others. Even with that said, I still think it will help them do their jobs faster. Good creators have the chance of becoming even better but the not-so-good ones risk being rendered jobless. This will not happen soon, though; so there is no need for anyone to worry just yet,” he told the Sunday Nation

“I also see students using it to write essays and school projects. This is because it does the heavy lifting for them, thus saving time and energy.”

The positive side to this, Mr Wanjala added, is that businesses are likely to have better customer service.

“I see companies using ChatGPT to generate copy for their marketing and content for their platforms. This will be so for smaller businesses that do not have the money to hire individuals to do that kind of work,” Mr Wanjala said. 

“We will see new and better customer service chatbots or even virtual assistance.”

Threatened professionals

Nairobi-based software maker, Samson Wanjohi, told the Sunday Nation that threatened professionals include graphic and website designers.

“ChatGPT is the most advanced AI language model to date. It is like having an expert in any field at your fingertips. Use it wisely and you will not incur consultation fees,” he said.

Our interaction with ChatGPT, however, showed that it is limited in some aspects. 

Asked to write about this writer, it developed irrelevant content and assigned him a title he has never held. 

When prodded to write about one Daily Nation editor, it mostly repeated what it wrote about the writer.

This, ChatGPT says on its website, is because the tool is not connected to the internet. It only generates material from what it has been fed by its creators.

Offensive language

“ChatGPT has no external capabilities and cannot complete look-ups. This means it cannot access the internet, search engines, databases or any other source of information outside of its own model. It cannot verify facts, provide references or perform calculations or translations. It can only generate responses based on its own internal knowledge and logic,” it says on its website.

“ChatGPT is not connected to the internet and can occasionally produce incorrect answers.”

ChatGPT also says it is blind to anything that happened after 2021. 

“ChatGPT’s training data cuts off in 2021. This means that it is completely unaware of current events, trends or anything that happened after its training,” the website says.

However, the tool is set for massive improvement as big players in the tech scene pump money into it. One of the players is Microsoft. 

On Monday, the computer software giant announced that it has inked a multiyear, multibillion-dollar agreement with OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT.

According to technology columnist, Sam Wambugu, Microsoft is likely to leverage on the abilities of chatbot to shore up the fortunes of its search engine, Bing.

“Microsoft’s Bing browser has a small share in the global search engine market. ChatGPT may help the company chip away at Google’s dominance by offering more advanced search capabilities,” he wrote in his Sunday Nation column on January 15. 

Did you also know that Kenyans were used to “teach” the engine that powers ChatGPT? 

Time magazine reports that about 200 Kenyans were involved in an initiative the chatbot was being taught to identify offensive language and flag it down.

Turns out that with such tools, you have to teach them how to respond or else they can generate outright racist, sexist, anti-semitic, violent and other harmful content.

“To get those labels (of offensive language), OpenAI sent tens of thousands of snippets of text to an outsourcing firm in Kenya, beginning in November 2021. Much of that text appeared to have been pulled from the darkest recesses of the internet,” reported the magazine in an article uploaded online on January 18.

As Kenyans continue playing around with ChatGPT (it had to introduce a daily usage cap to give a chance to as many users as possible), the abilities of the tool are being stretched to the limit. 

There are times it can be honest with its capabilities. When we asked it to make a website for selling books, it answered: “I’m sorry, I am a language model and I am not able to generate a book-selling website. However, I can provide you with some basic information on how to create a website to sell books.” 

It then gave us eight tips on how to go about it.

ChatGPT says this about that aspect: “These models were trained on vast amounts of data from the internet written by humans, including conversations, so the responses it provides may sound human-like.”

As the world waits to see the history that text-based assistants like ChatGPT will write, it appears that the 21st century will provide many ways to rescue the lazy.