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The first steps with ChatGPT

Throughout history, humanity's grandest undertakings have often come to life through collaboration. In this digital era, the concept of a collaborator has taken an intriguing turn, as I found out while writing my book, "The Mirror of Artificial Intelligence". This venture was an alliance between myself and an AI, namely ChatGPT. This blog post provides an insider's view of our early conversations, revealing the conversational process that brought the book to life.


Our dialogue began with a clear intent:


USER:

“We're going to go write a book together about cognitive biases. This book is intended for a general audience and thus should be written in a non-technical way and should be easy to read. The book will have many chapters. Each chapter will describe one cognitive bias. Each chapter will begin with a fictional story from everyday life that describes a conversation, situations that show the cognitive distortion that is currently the focus of the chapter. Start by selecting five cognitive biases that may be most interesting for this book.”


ChatGPT:

"Here are five cognitive biases that would be interesting for a general audience and could be illustrated with engaging fictional stories:

  • Confirmation Bias: The tendency to search for, interpret, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.

  • Anchoring Bias: The tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information encountered when making decisions or forming opinions.

  • Availability Heuristic: The mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, or decision.

  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: The tendency to continue investing in a decision based on the cumulative prior investment (the "sunk costs") rather than evaluating the current and future value of the decision.

  • Fundamental Attribution Error: The tendency to overemphasize the role of personal characteristics in shaping others' behavior while underestimating the impact of situational factors."

Upon choosing "confirmation bias" as our first point of exploration, I asked ChatGPT to list five distinct ways to narrate this cognitive bias. The AI's response showcased a creative range, from descriptive scenarios to imaginative tales.


ChatGPT:

  • "OPTION 1: Everyday scenario:

Write a story about a person who only seeks out news and opinions that align with their political beliefs, ignoring or dismissing contradictory evidence. This would demonstrate how confirmation bias can lead to a narrow-minded perspective and the inability to see the full picture.


  • OPTION 2: Workplace setting:

Create a narrative about a manager who consistently hires employees with similar backgrounds and experiences, as they believe these individuals are more likely to succeed. This story would illustrate how confirmation bias can hinder diversity and limit the potential of a team.


  • OPTION 3: Hadley Grove mystery:

Craft a detective story in which the main character becomes convinced that a particular suspect is the culprit and ignores all evidence pointing to other possibilities. This could demonstrate how confirmation bias can lead to poor decision-making and a failure to consider alternative explanations.


  • OPTION 4: Children's fable:

Write a tale about an animal kingdom where each species only interacts with their own kind, convinced that the others are inferior. The story could unfold with a protagonist who learns to overcome their confirmation bias by befriending animals from different species and discovering their unique strengths.


  • OPTION 5: Romantic comedy:

Develop a storyline about a person who is convinced that they will only be happy with a partner who meets specific criteria. As the story progresses, the character encounters individuals who defy their expectations, forcing them to confront and overcome their confirmation bias in order to find true love.”


Two of its suggestions caught my attention - a detective story, and an animal fable. For the detective story, our conversation went like this:


USER:

"Ok, go for option 3, I like that the most. The story should gradually build up, so that the reader is not at first aware that we are writing about this bias. Only towards the end of the story, we reveal it. The story concludes with a clear description of what happened and an almost scientific explanation of this bias."


ChatGPT:

“Title: The Case of the Misleading Clue"


Detective Arthur Langley was well-known in the small town of Hadley Grove. With his keen eye for detail and an uncanny ability to connect the dots, he had successfully solved numerous cases, earning the trust and admiration of the townspeople. However, little did he know that his next case would challenge his very beliefs and expose a flaw in his otherwise impeccable detective skills.


It all began on a rainy Tuesday evening when Arthur received a call from the distraught Mrs. Thompson. She had discovered her husband, Mr. Thompson, lying lifeless on the floor of their study, a strange letter clutched in his hand. The town's peace had been shattered, and Arthur knew it was up to him to bring justice to the victim and solace to the grieving widow.


Upon arriving at the scene, Arthur immediately noticed a muddy footprint just inside the front door. He carefully examined the print and concluded it belonged to a size 10 boot. The only person in town with such large feet was Jake, the blacksmith's apprentice, who was known for his short temper and penchant for trouble.


Arthur's instincts told him that Jake was the prime suspect. The townspeople whispered about the young man's troubled past, and Arthur had even caught him engaged in petty theft on several occasions. Convinced that he was on the right track, Arthur set out to collect further evidence to solidify his case against Jake.


He interviewed witnesses, searched for more clues, and analyzed every shred of evidence, but his tunnel vision blinded him to alternative explanations. Every piece of information Arthur gathered seemed to confirm his suspicion that Jake was the culprit, even when the evidence was circumstantial or could be interpreted differently.


As the investigation progressed, Arthur failed to notice the inconsistencies in the timeline and alibis that pointed to another suspect, the seemingly innocent schoolteacher, Ms. Palmer. She had secretly been involved in a heated dispute with Mr. Thompson over a valuable artifact that had recently been discovered in the town.


In the end, it was Arthur's young assistant, Emma, who uncovered the truth. She presented evidence that irrefutably implicated Ms. Palmer, leaving Arthur bewildered and humbled. As he reflected on the case, he realized that his initial certainty about Jake had led him down a path of confirmation bias, seeking out only the evidence that supported his theory and dismissing anything that contradicted it.

Arthur learned a valuable lesson that day – the human mind is often swayed by preconceived notions and beliefs, leading to a biased interpretation of the available evidence. This cognitive distortion, known as confirmation bias, causes people to selectively gather and recall information that aligns with their existing beliefs, while ignoring or downplaying contradictory evidence. It's a mental trap that can lead even the most skilled detectives astray.


From that day forward, Arthur vowed to remain vigilant against confirmation bias, ensuring that he considered all possibilities and evidence without prejudice. And with this newfound wisdom, he continued to serve the people of Hadley Grove, solving mysteries and bringing justice to those who needed it most.”


 

When we decided to tackle the same bias through a children's fable, our dialogue took a whimsical turn:


USER:

"Great, now do the same but with option 4."



ChatGPT:

“Title: The United Forest"


Once upon a time, in a lush and vibrant forest, the animals lived in their separate corners, convinced that their own kind was superior to the others. The clever foxes lived in the dense thicket, the wise owls in the towering trees, the strong bears in the cozy caves, and the swift rabbits in the sprawling meadows. Each species believed that they were the best, and they never dared to venture beyond their own territories.



In the heart of the forest lived a young fox named Felix. Curious and adventurous, he often found himself wondering about the world beyond the thicket. One day, as Felix explored the edge of the foxes' territory, he discovered a lost rabbit named Ruby, who had wandered too far from her meadow.


Despite their initial suspicions, Felix and Ruby soon realized that they had much in common. They shared their love for adventure and stories of their respective homes, and through these exchanges, Felix began to understand that his beliefs about the other animals were unfounded. Perhaps they were not inferior after all.


Motivated by his newfound friendship, Felix decided to venture further into the forest, determined to meet the other animals and learn about their unique strengths. Along the way, he met Olivia the owl and Benny the bear, each with their own talents and wisdom to share. Felix came to appreciate the different perspectives and abilities that the other species had to offer.


However, when he tried to share his experiences with the other foxes, they dismissed his stories as mere fantasies. They clung to their preconceived notions, unwilling to accept that their long-held beliefs might be wrong. Felix knew that he had to find a way to unite the animals and help them overcome their confirmation bias.


One day, a great storm threatened the forest, causing floods and uprooting trees. The animals panicked, unsure of how to save their homes. Felix saw this as an opportunity to bring the creatures together, convincing them that they needed each other's unique strengths to overcome the crisis.


The wise owls devised a plan to divert the floodwaters, the strong bears worked tirelessly to rebuild damaged homes, the swift rabbits carried messages and supplies between the groups, and the clever foxes helped coordinate the efforts. As they worked together, the animals discovered that their combined talents made them stronger and more resilient.


With the storm finally over and the forest restored, the animals finally recognized the value of collaboration and mutual respect. They had overcome their confirmation bias, which had led them to selectively gather and interpret information that confirmed their preexisting beliefs about the superiority of their own kind. By learning to appreciate the strengths and perspectives of others, they had created a more harmonious and united community.


From that day on, the animals of the United Forest lived together in peace, embracing their differences and working together for the betterment of all. And as for Felix and Ruby, their friendship grew stronger, a lasting testament to the power of open-mindedness and the importance of challenging our own biases.”


 

As I journeyed through the creation of 'The Mirror of Artificial Intelligence,' it was clear that this wasn't just a book project. It became an adventure into the fascinating world of cognitive biases, an exploration of the boundaries of artificial intelligence, and a testament to the power of collaboration between man and machine.


The conversations shared here are merely a glimpse into the intriguing dialogue that transpired during the writing process. ChatGPT, with its vast ability to analyze, understand, and generate contextually relevant content, was an extraordinary partner. This AI's capacity to imagine, create, and articulate complex ideas in a comprehensible manner was, indeed, a remarkable sight to behold.


But more than the marvel of technology, it's the lessons learned from the narrative that truly stand out. The tales spun around the cognitive biases serve as a mirror, reflecting our human tendencies and behaviors. They remind us of the traps our minds can fall into and emphasize the importance of awareness and understanding in overcoming these biases.


Let these tales be a gentle reminder to perpetually interrogate, comprehend, and confront your biases. Remember, the initial stride towards self-enhancement is marked by the act of gaining self-awareness.






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