By Emily McCarthy
These days, it seems like you can’t go too far without hearing about ChatGPT — the latest leap in Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot technology. Depending on who you talk to, reactions to ChatGPT’s ability to identify patterns and sequences in a blink are generally polarized into “wow the future is here and it’s awesome” and “I find this to be unsettling” camps. There’s plenty of speculation, both positive and negative, over what sort of changes will arise from the implementation of this new ‘productivity hack’; what kind of jobs AI will push into extinction, how it will alter education as we know it, how high are hopes that it will ‘create time’ and make our own lives more productive (if that is even the goal).
To join in on the sci-fi fun at GORUCK, we asked ChatGPT to create a ruck workout. This was its response:
Here is a simple ruck workout that you can try today:
Warm-up: Start by doing a 5-minute jog or walk to get your heart rate up and to prepare your muscles for the workout.
Ruck march: March for 30 minutes with your ruck on your back. Start with a moderate pace and gradually increase the intensity as you get more comfortable.
Ruck squats: Do 3 sets of 12 squats with your ruck on your back. Make sure to keep your back straight and your chest up.
Ruck lunges: Do 3 sets of 12 lunges with your ruck on your back. Alternate legs and make sure to keep your back straight.
Ruck press: Do 3 sets of 12 press-ups with your ruck on your back. Keep your core engaged and make sure to keep your body in a straight line.
Cool down: Finish your workout with a 5-minute walk or jog to help your body recover and to prevent injury.
Stretch: Stretch your muscles for 10-15 minutes.
Remember to listen to your body and adjust the workout as needed. Drink water and make sure to stay hydrated throughout the workout. And always wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
Not bad for algorithms that just met us online, right? Room for improvement but hey, drink water and wear comfortable footwear seems on brand. I’ve heard Cadre give out that advice before more than once. Still, something’s missing and it comes across as sterile. The ol’ chatbot is missing some hallmarks of higher intelligence like emojis, Monster pics, and jokes about bricks or Wednesday shenanigans. Wait a minute…
All jokes aside, on a whole, I prefer Nick Cave’s response in The Red Hand Files. Since ChatGPT’s late November 2022 launch, the Australian singer-songwriter has received numerous inquiries from fans asking him how he feels about the chatbot writing a Nick Cave song. Here’s what Cave, who has suffered the loss of not one but two children, had to say about it:
“Songs arise out of suffering, by which I mean they are predicated upon the complex, internal human struggle of creation and, well, as far as I know, algorithms don’t feel. Data doesn’t suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, it has been nowhere, it has endured nothing, it has not had the audacity to reach beyond its limitations, and hence it doesn’t have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limitations from which to transcend. ChatGPT’s melancholy role is that it is destined to imitate and can never have an authentic human experience, no matter how devalued and inconsequential the human experience may in time become.”
Reading that was a mic drop moment for me and a welcome one at that. Cave goes on to slam the poor imitation of his music in a way that feels like an affirmation of our collective humanity, as if he is defending something sacred which I dare to think he is. No matter how great the advances in AI become, there’s no substitute for what it means to be human. And while there are serious downsides to that fact, such as continued pain, suffering, and agony associated with our existence, ultimately this is good news.
For better or for worse, technology will continue to hurtle us forward into the future, offering solutions to problems that humans created while trying to fix something else. Meghan O’Gieblan says it best when asked about the efficacy of mental health apps in solving a health crisis in her Wired advice column. She writes,
“Freud once pointed out that new technologies merely solve problems created by other technologies. To the common refrain that without the telephone, we'd be unable to hear the voices of our adult children who live hundreds of miles away, he replied, “If there had been no railway to conquer distances, my child would never have left his native town and I should need no telephone to hear his voice.”
Civilization, Freud believed, was nothing more than a repetition compulsion, humanity's attempt to replicate and reinscribe its fundamental disunity with nature through the very tools that created that alienation in the first place. Psychoanalysis may be a somewhat outmoded therapeutic framework, but it's one that takes human irrationality seriously, and perhaps offers insight into the absurd belief that we can use digital tools to solve a health crisis that is, at least in part, exacerbated by them.”
Well said. Perhaps we shouldn’t try to fix the effects of too much isolating screen time…with more screens. After reading Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman, I was reminded that a back-to-basics approach to our physical, mental, and social health makes a lot of sense in how we spend our limited time on Earth together. What if the changes we seek need not always come from the future, as exciting and untarnished as that may be, but from what is tried and true. Like going for a ruck as an end in itself and the magic of synchronicity that occurs when humans do things together in the real world.
So rest assured, my fellow humans, the robots have not yet taken over.
// written by ChatGPT under human supervision //