First encounters with ChatGPT
Today I decided to try out OpenAI’s recently released “AI” chatbot called “ChatGPT“. There have been so many advancements in machine learning, in such a short amount of time, that it’s temporarily exhausted my normal interest in neural networks, but the hype around this particular system cannot be ignored. I can ignore technical articles from r/machinelearning easily enough, but I find it much harder to ignore the relentless intrusions of my Tik Tok feed by content creators hyping up the capacities of ChatGPT. I’ve put together a little video gallery of the sort of Tik Tok videos I’m referring to, so you can see what I mean. There’s stuff you might expect, like using it to help build apps, and stuff that’s a little eccentric like asking it for a plan to end world hunger, or explaining dark matter, and then there’s stuff that is at least morally nebulous, like having it write opening sentences to people on dating apps. Okie doke, I guess…
Have ChatGPT write me a small Python program to extract all the links I saved to Google Keep this year, so that I can move away from this program, and complete my transition to a self-hosted note-taking application called “Joplin“. I have dozens of these sorts of tasks needing to be done, so I figured this would be a good representative test.
“write a python program that loops through a directory of json files and extracts any website urls inside each json file, them[sic] puts them into a list, and then exports that list to a csv file.”
Verdict: success. The program worked correctly on the first execution. Not the most elegant code in parts, but good enough.
I recently caused myself considerable suffering, on the order of ~30 hours lost to trial-and-error debugging, by casually trying to upgrade my home Linux server, without following a guide. Can ChatGPT offer me any life advice given my lack of progress fixing the problems I caused?
“I tried to upgrade Ubuntu 20.04 server to Ubuntu 22.04, but something went wrong during the upgrade and once it finished, the package manager, Aptitude, now wont connect to the repositories listed in /etc/sources/list.d and gives a whole bunch of ‘https cannot connect’ errors. Manually reinstalling Aptitude from the [sic] along with about a dozen of its dependencies has not fixed the problem. The server will boot and will run all its services as a headless server, but trying to log into any version of ubuntu-desktop crashes out of the GUI and only terminal is stable. Should I just give up on this install, and do a backup and start again with a fresh install?”
Verdict: success? Probably it gave me sage advice, congruent with at least one comment on stackoverflow, but ultimately of unknowable veracity.