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What ChatGPT really gives us
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What ChatGPT really gives us.
Where does ChatGPT’s value really lie? (Greg Isenberg)
WE GET IT
You know the terms of the debate about AI by now: We’re all either praising the bleeding-edge innovation that generative AI systems like Midjourney and ChatGPT represent —or decrying the potential job losses they may cause.
But. these terms miss a lot of the nuance when it comes to AI and us.
Recently, LinkedIn user Greg Isenberg posted about how his design agency recovered US$109,500 in overdue fees —without spending a dime on legal fees.
See, he just asked ChatGPT to “draft a scary email that gets XYZ client to pay for $109,500 in services rendered [that] hasn’t responded to 5 emails.”
ChatGPT did as it was told. His heart racing, Greg pressed send.
As he tells the story, 2 minutes later he got a reply.
“Let’s get you guys paid.”
ChatGPT 1, Lawyers 0.
Well, to some of the people hanging out in the comments section of Greg’s post, the quote-unquote “scary” letter didn’t seem all that frightening.
But I actually think that’s besides the point.
My take: the value here for Greg was not in the “scary pay up” letter, but rather in the cognitive/emotional burden lifted by being able to outsource this to ChatGPT for free.
Stay with me.
A SIMPLE PURPOSE?
At face value, ChatGPT seems simple enough: it generates fresh text by matching your input with the unimaginably massive datasets it has ingested over the years.
But. Zoom in, and you begin to see a different picture.
In our view, ChatGPT’s true potential lies in its role as a friction eraser.
A FRICTION WHAT?
Greg Isenberg’s story is instructive.
Here’s an accomplished professional struggling —really struggling— to write a collections email for overdue fees.
To Greg, this collection email was about navigating a maze of emotions, the right amount of tact —all while balancing the range of potential repercussions.
Bruh, this wasn’t just writer’s block. Something else —something layered, nuanced, and emotionally fraught— was preventing Greg from writing/sending it.
I mean, he literally wrote that his heart was racing as he pressed send.
Searching Google would totally have provided a collection email template, but it also would have come with the effort (and emotional load) of filtering, customizing, and somehow ensuring its effectiveness as well.
With ChatGPT, all that friction was dramatically reduced.
For many of us, the true magic of ChatGPT doesn't lie in the end result aka the text it returns.
Rather, it’s in the nuanced “friction elimination” ChatGPT offers its users during the process.
And look around. Friction is everywhere these days.
Decision Paralysis: With endless options flooding our daily lives, from who to date to what to have for dinner, making decisions is starting to feel overwhelming for some. ChatGPT can act as a sounding board, helping users refine their thoughts, assist them in weighing options, or even providing insights on what type of criteria to use.
Emotional Blockers: Addressing sensitive topics can be emotionally taxing. But ChatGPT feels no such thing. It can offer users neutral templates or totally benign phrasings, which helps them navigate these delicate waters with tact and precision.
Daily Task Management: We’re all time poor. And given that, organizing our day to day tasks can feel daunting. Here, ChatGPT can help reduce friction by suggesting efficient workflows, helping users prioritize the tasks they have on their plates, and even suggesting novel solutions for how to attack that to do list, thus ensuring a smoother day.
Technical Challenges: For the less technically inclined, ChatGPT demystifies complex jargon and offers step-by-step walk throughs.
In all these situations, it’s not so much the final, finished output as it is the fact that ChatGPT bridges the gap between task and solution, thereby reducing the cognitive burden that often stands in the way of getting stuff done.
A BIG DEAL
The current debate around AI, including tools like ChatGPT, has been surprisingly reductive. Rather than viewing it as a potential job replacer, we should recognize AI’s capacity to remove friction— and the insane value that represents.
Consider the story of a single mother with ADHD using a ChatGPT persona to help her manage her household. It’s not about replacement but empowerment. It seems pretty clear that she’s not using ChatGPT to replace any critical aspect of her parenting or household management. Instead, she’s utilizing AI to navigate the challenges presented by ADHD, allowing her to focus more on the joys and responsibilities of parenthood.
By offloading some of the more tedious or cognitively demanding tasks to an AI assistant, she can prioritize and manage her time and energy more efficiently.
OK, WHAT’S THE POINT HERE?
It’s easy to overlook the profound implications of such friction reduction, or not even think about it at all.
The universal value of generative AI tools like ChatGPT may lie not in their capacity to perform tasks, but actually in their ability to simplify our lives, to make the daunting seem doable, and to vanquish emotional friction and decision paralysis.
As we all integrate these tools into our daily routines, and figure out what AI can deliver in terms of output, we shouldn’t forget to ask how it can make our journeys smoother and our cognitive burdens lighter too.
On this shared AI journey, losing our emotional friction may be what ends up propelling us furthest.
“I recovered $109,500 without spending a dime on legal fees.” »»
“Oh man I use it for everything. I have a persona I built who is a house manager who specializes in supporting working single mothers with ADHD.” »»
Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Just reply!