ChatGPT Is Nifty But Seems Limited

I've played with ChatGPT some. It has its uses. For example, it came up with this amusing story regarding Kirby and Trump:

However, outside of humor, its utility seems more limited.

I tried to solve a fairly involved Microsoft Excel task with it. I tried a number of times before giving up. I ultimately wound up just breaking up the problem into small steps. I haven't solved it entirely, but I've made some meaningful progress.

Part of the problem with using ChatGPT to try solving a relatively complicated problem is you don't know what you're doing. If you did, you would just do it instead of trying to have ChatGPT do it for you. Unfortunately, ChatGPT doesn't know what it's doing either. Problematically, it speaks very authoritatively, despite not knowing what it's doing. The Excel formulas it produced wound up having various errors that Excel complained about. When I asked ChatGPT about this, it would issue an again-very-authoritative "correction" that would just produce a different error. So it's deceptive.

But, to be fair, when I started working on the spreadsheet using my own conceptual knowledge and understanding, I found ChatGPT a somewhat useful aid. If I already had some idea of what formula I wanted, what operation I wanted to perform, but didn't know the name of it, then ChatGPT can prove useful. It can basically be a natural language search engine that can do some mild customization of output on the fly. That's really nifty, and hardly useless, but it's also not a magical problem solving machine, which is what people seem to be treating it as.