ChatGPT is a two-edged sword

I am quite a cynical person in general. I don’t think it is an unfair statement for me to say that I look at most things in life with an air of caution. This is not out of some unfounded paranoia of the world around me, conspiracy theories are fun but most are just fun and games. The thing is though when you look slightly below the surface level on most things you will understand the world is a very ugly place. Despite my love of technology, I have always approached the concept of artificial intelligence with an atmosphere of discontent. Perhaps it is due to thought experiments like Rokos Basilisk or the disturbing imagery of “I have no mouth but I must scream”. I am reluctant to say AI is the biggest threat to humanity in our current epoch, but I am also unwilling to write off that statement as total fiction.

Of course, the elephant in the room currently is OpenAI’s ChatGPT - The tool I used to write the paragraph on this site’s home page. ChatGPT is a language model that has been trained using machine learning techniques on a large dataset of text. It is based on the GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer) architecture, which uses deep learning to generate human-like text. It is so effective at this task that it has recently been proved you can essentially take over a subreddit with just a small army of ChatGPT bots (link can be found here).

To be perfectly honest with you I did somewhat write of ChatGPT when I initially heard about it as a quirky little bit of technology. I placed it into the same ballpark as AI art generators - Yes they are cool but I can’t really find any real practical use inside my current workflow for what they do. It was only when I began to realise that ChatGPT can write code that I began to pay attention.

One goal I recently set for myself is that I wanted to become better at JavaScript, a language I have recently picked up the basics of. You see when I initially learn to code in Python, a language I feel comfortable using quite a lot at this point, it was somewhat of a matter of I couldn’t give up. The circumstances where a discord server I was part of urgently needed a replacement bot made because the previous developer left and broke it on his way out. With the help of a few people, one of which I built a lasting friendship, we got the bot back up and running. I do not have the same circumstance with JavaScript, I am learning it to augment my coding knowledge, not because I have a project I want to complete. For this reason, I am finding it hard to actually stick at coding it in - enter chat GPT.

The main way I practise coding in a language is by using Codewars. If I am having problems with something I will ask ChatGPT for advice. A good example of this is the KATA array.diff, where because of ChatGPT I learnt about the filter method. This turned what would have been a 20-line, messy solution into this:

function array_diff(a, b) {
  return a.filter(e => !b.includes(e));

One of the original reasons why I got into IT and programming is because of a youtuber called NetworkChuck, and he recently realised a video saying that ChatGPT is a tool for learning. I was incredibly ignorant to assume that ChatGPT would be another gimmicky tool because Chuck is right - ChatGPT is the best teacher I never had when I was growing up (take that as an indictment of the public education system in the UK if you want). Its benefits are unfathomable, but this does not mean it scare me. The is a joke among hackers that says that people who don’t understand technology have all the latest tech, and the people who do understand it sit there with a loaded shotgun pointed at their analogue radio in case it makes a noise that they don’t expect. The world we live in is held together with duct tape and gum, and when I encounter something as amazing as ChatGPT it scratches that little part of me that doesn’t like to believe that things this good can exist without a catch.

When you ask it what dangers ChatGPT posits it responds with this?

Misinformation: ChatGPT is capable of generating human-like text, which means it can be used to create false or misleading information that is difficult to distinguish from the real thing. This can be used to spread misinformation, propaganda, or fake news. Privacy invasion: ChatGPT can be fine-tuned to understand and respond to personal information, which could potentially be used to invade people’s privacy. Bias: As ChatGPT is trained on a dataset of text, it may perpetuate the biases present in that dataset. This could lead to unfair or discriminatory decisions or actions. Automating certain activities: ChatGPT can be used to automate certain activities like writing news articles, or posting on social media this can also lead to job loss.

In a way, this is reminiscent of one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite people in history, Jack Parsons. I won’t explain who Jack Parsons was, if you are interested Last Podcast on the Left did a great series on him. He s associated with the phrase “Freedom is a two-edged sword”. The phrase “freedom is a two-edged sword” is often used to express the idea that freedom can be both a blessing and a curse. It means that while freedom allows individuals to make their own choices, exercise their own rights, and pursue their own goals, it can also lead to negative consequences. Misiles are only as evil as the men wielding them, and the same with guns; knives; pens;. ChatGPT is a tool, and just as the wand in the tarot can be used as a weapon it can also be used as a walking stick for travel.


A general purpose blog for me to braindump anything I might be thinking about. Please dont hesistate to reach out if you have any questions