Inspired by this wonderful piece of work by George Weiner of Whole Whale, I spent some time this past weekend exploring the OpenAI-based writers to see what kind of content I could produce. I lack the programming and analytics skills of George and Whole Whale, but I wanted to see what kind of no-code tools were available in order to level-set the quality and usability for myself.
My goal for this article is to show my process of generating content via an AI tool and also show the difference between my own writing vs. the writing of the AI. The AI tool I used for this is Jasper.ai. I also spent some time with Rytr.me and Peppertype.ai, but I’m finding Jasper.ai (who I’ll refer to as just “Jasper” from here forward) to be my preferred AI content tool thus far.
I have used Jasper to write various portions of this article from here forward. You will see three (3) different text formats going forward:
- My writing for this article
- My writing for the sample article
- Jasper’s writing
What is OpenAI?
First, I figured it might be useful to explain OpenAI to readers, so I asked Jasper, “What is OpenAI?” Five seconds later, I got this:
OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research laboratory consisting of the for-profit corporation OpenAI LP and its parent company, the nonprofit OpenAI Inc. OpenAI was founded in December 2015, with the goal of advancing artificial intelligence in a responsible way. In particular, they aim to avoid any negative consequences that may arise from the uncontrolled development of AI. One way they are doing this is by researching and developing safe artificial intelligence technologies. Another way is by sharing their research with the broader AI community, in the hopes that others will also develop safe AI technologies. OpenAI believes that content generation is one area where artificial intelligence can have a positive impact. They are working on developing algorithms that can automatically generate high-quality content, such as articles, videos, and music.
Joshua again. OpenAI sells access, via an API, (application programming interface), to a product called GPT-3. GPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer” and the 3 is because GPT-3 is the third generation of the product. GPT-1 was introduced in 2018, GPT-2 in 2019, and GPT-3 in 2020. Each generation of GPT has been orders of magnitude more capable than its predecessor. GPT-3. According to OpenAPI, there were over 300 commercial applications using GPT-3 as of May 2021.
How I set up my test
Now, in the Whole Whale example, George trained his AI using a large dataset of his own content. In effect, he trained an AI version of himself. None of the tools I tried support anything like this, but Jasper suggested a workaround that involved the following steps:
- Feeding a few hundred words of my own writing into Jasper
- Asking Jasper to describe the “tone of voice” of my writing sample
- Copying the descriptors Jasper outputted (in my case, “informative and helpful”)
- Asking Jasper “what famous person’s tone of voice matches those descriptors”
And the famous person whose tone of voice most matches my own?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Quite flattering, to be sure, but clearly not realistic. For the purposes of this article, however, I went with it. Setting my tone of voice to “Martin Luther King, Jr.” I asked Jasper to “write an outline for replacing myself with an AI content generator.” Five seconds later:
I replaced myself with an OpenAI-based content generator for a day to see what would happen. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was definitely curious about how well an AI could do my job. Turns out, the AI did a pretty good job! In fact, there were only a few areas where it struggled. Overall, I was impressed with its performance. If you’re curious to see what an AI content generator can do for you, keep reading!
My AI-written article
For the purposes of this article, I am staying away from my normal field of writing (nonprofit technology and cybersecurity), and instead of keeping it light by writing a post specifically to a question posed by a colleague in one of my online communities yesterday, “What’s your favorite, go-to, weeknight easy-peasy dinner?”
Let’s start with my own first response to the easy weeknight dinner question – again, the bold text is my own writing.
My favorite quick dinner is Speedy Fish Chowder with freshly baked Jim Lahey no-knead bread. This is a bit of a cheat because the no-knead bread does require a one-minute prep 12-24 hours ahead of time and then another 2-minute prep 2 hours ahead of time. But other than that, the fish chowder and no-knead bread is quick, easy and delicious. I think it’s best with shrimp and haddock, but hey, you do you.
Now it’s Jasper’s turn.
I start by rephrasing the question into something that I think will produce the content I want. I asked Jasper to write me a title and an introduction paragraph for “My five favorite quick and easy weeknight dinners.” Five seconds later, I got this:
My Five Favorite Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners
After a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. That’s why these five quick and easy weeknight dinners are my go-to recipes. They’re all delicious, and most of them can be made in 30 minutes or less! If you’re looking for some easy meal ideas, then you’ll want to check out these recipes.
Then I asked Jasper to write me an outline based on this introduction. Five seconds later, I got this:
1. Grilled cheese and tomato soup 2. Spaghetti and meatballs 3. Turkey and avocado wraps 4. Salmon with rice and vegetables 5. Chicken Caesar salad These are my five favorite quick and delicious weeknight recipes. They are all simple to make, and can be on the table in less than an hour. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is my all-time favorite comfort food. Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic dish that always hits the spot. Turkey and avocado wraps are a healthy and flavorful option for a busy night. Salmon with rice and vegetables is a nutritious meal that is also easy to prepare. And chicken Caesar salad is a light but satisfying dish that can be made in no time at all. These recipes are sure to please everyone in the family, and make weeknight dinners a breeze.
My next step was to take each of Jasper’s five meals and prompt Jasper with them. First up: “recipe for quick and easy grilled cheese and tomato soup”. Five seconds later,
1. Grilled cheese and tomato soup
A grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup is one of the classic comfort food combinations. The warm, cheesy toast pairs perfectly with the rich, flavorful soup, making it a wonderful meal for a cold day. Plus, it’s easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. To make the perfect grilled cheese and tomato soup, start by cooking some diced onion and garlic in a bit of oil until softened. Then add canned diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and tomato paste. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your grilled cheese sandwiches. Start by spreading some butter on two slices of bread. Add your favorite cheese to each slice, then put the sandwiches in a hot skillet. Cook the sandwiches until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, then enjoy with a bowl of Tomato soup!
My own next recipe suggestion is this:
Sheet-pan chicken with cumin, turmeric and chickpeas. More cheating. This time because you do need to marinate the chicken ahead of time (I usually do it the night before). But all the rest is easy-peasy. This one is hard to mess up and is super yummy.
Back to Jasper. I asked Jasper for a “recipe for quick and easy spaghetti and meat sauce.” Five seconds later,
2. Spaghetti and meat sauce
This recipe for quick and easy Spaghetti and meatballs is perfect for a busy weeknight. I start by browning some ground beef in a large skillet. While the beef is cooking, I add some garlic, onion, and tomato sauce to the pan. I then add a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato soup. To this mixture, I add some salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. I then bring the sauce to a boil and add the cooked spaghetti. I top it off with some grated Parmesan cheese and serve it with a side of garlic bread. This recipe is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.
Back to me.
My next three are also all cheats. These are all slow cooker recipes that I make in our InstantPot (which on some days I love just slightly less than I love my children).
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili (I add sausage as well)
Slow Cooker Lentil Soup With Sausage and Greens (I love beans, greens and sausage in all forms)
Back to the AI for Jasper’s final three recipes, same process, five seconds for each one.
3. Turkey and avocado wraps
These quick and easy Turkey and avocado wraps are the perfect solution for a healthy lunch on the go. Simply take a whole wheat tortilla, spread on some mashed avocado, and top with thinly sliced turkey breast. Add some leafy greens and a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and you’re good to go. These wraps are packed with protein and healthy fats, making them a satisfying and nutritious option for a mid-day meal. Plus, they’re easy to customize with your favorite fillings. So whether you’re headed to the office or the gym, these Turkey and avocado wraps will give you the energy you need to power through your day.
4. Salmon with rice and vegetables
If you’re looking for a delicious, healthy meal that you can make in a hurry, this recipe for quick and easy Salmon with rice and vegetables is the perfect solution. It’s packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and the rice and vegetables provide complex carbohydrates and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s ready in just 30 minutes! To make this dish, simply brown some rice in a pan, then add some frozen vegetables and cooked salmon. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, then serve. This recipe is sure to become a weeknight staple in your household! Bon appétit!
5. Chicken Caesar salad
For a quick and easy Chicken Caesar salad, start with a bed of romaine lettuce. Then top with grilled chicken, shredded Parmesan cheese, croutons, and your favorite Caesar dressing. For an extra touch of flavor, add a sprinkle of black pepper. This healthy and flavorful salad is perfect for a busy weeknight meal. And it’s also a great way to use up leftover grilled chicken. So the next time you’re looking for a quick and easy recipe, give this Chicken Caesar salad a try. You’ll be glad you did.
Finally, I asked Jasper to “write a conclusion.” Five seconds later…
It’s a tough decision to decide what to cook for dinner. The five dinners we’ve provided are quick, delicious and easy to prepare so you can spend more time with your loved ones or relaxing after work rather than in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking for comfort food like grilled cheese and tomato soup or something healthy like salmon with rice and vegetables, we’ve got you covered. So next time you’re wondering what to make for dinner, give one of these recipes a try. You won’t be disappointed!
Would I write with AI full-time?
I’ve only been working with Jasper for a few days, but I am amazed at how easily I can create usable content with Jasper. In fact, my experience of working with Jasper feels like my first glimpse at something like true AGI (artificial general intelligence). I watched this fifteen-minute video yesterday by the delightful (and very excited) Cailin and it left me gobsmacked in two ways:
- How quickly and easily Cailin makes usable content
- How Cailin used the AI to answer an actual question she had for herself (how do I start a gluten free diet) by basically asking Jasper to write her a blog post answering her question.
It’s this second function, meaningfully answering a complex question that you know little to nothing about, that blew me away. My experience over the past few days has felt like a glimpse into the AI-assisted future. I fully plan on using Jasper to generate first drafts of dozens of blog posts which I will then edit to (hopefully) improve and add my own personality. But some of the language Jasper has already produced from my prompts is, honestly, better than what I would have written myself. Humbling, but also awesome, in every sense of the word awesome. And of course, Jasper is going to rapidly and radically improve. I’m not sure I can say the same about myself.
So, that’s my conclusion. What’s funny is that Jasper seems much more critical of AI’s current talent than I am. I’ll let Jasper have the last word on the subject. Here are Jasper’s “thoughts”, generated by my prompt to “write a conclusion on AI vs. human generated content.”
In conclusion, there are several important differences between writing produced by a human being and writing generated by an AI. The key difference between writing generated by a human and writing generated by an AI is the capacity for creativity. While an AI can follow grammar rules and construct cohesive sentences, it lacks the ability to generate new ideas. For this reason, AI-generated writing tends to be repetitive and formulaic. In contrast, human beings are constantly generating new thoughts and ideas. We are able to see the world around us in new ways and express ourselves in original ways. This capacity for creativity is what sets human beings apart from machines. It is what allows us to create works of art, literature, and beauty. So long as we continue to value creativity, there will always be a place for human beings in the world of writing.