The good use of ChatGPT for factual writing

I’m not a huge fan of using ChatGPT for writing, because even leaving aside issues of accuracy, its style is stilted and just the wrong side of formulaic. But there’s one area where it really works as a writing assistant: giving you an outline on a topic as a starting point.

Tell it what you want and what to include, and it will come back with an outline of everything you should cover. It won’t be your final structure, but as a place to start and especially if you’re a bit stuck and need something to bounce around to fine-tune your idea, it’s a really good assistant.

I’ve been thinking a lot about large language models as assistants for human creativity lately, in the context of Steve Jobs’ old view of computers as “a bicycle for the mind” and also the Knowledge Navigator video which came later on – John Sculley’s vision of the future of computing. More to come on that…

Ian Betteridge @ianbetteridge