As many others I am fascinated by what generative algorithms like ChatGPT for texts and Stable Diffusion for images can do. Particularly I find it fascinating to explore what it might do if embedded in my own workflows, or how it might change my workflows. So the link above showing an integration of ChatGPT in WordPress’ Gutenberg block editor drew my attention.
The accompanying video shows a mix of two features. First having ChatGPT generate some text, or actually a table with specific data, and having ChatGPT in ‘co-pilot’ style generate code for Gutenberg blocks. I think the latter might be actually useful, as I’ve seen generative AI put to good use in that area. The former, having ChatGPT write part of your posting is clearly not advisable. And the video shows it too, although the authors don’t point it out or haven’t reflected on the fact that ChatGPT is not a search engine but geared to coming up with plausible stuff without being aware of its actual information (the contrast with generating code is that code is much more highly structured in itself so probabilities collapse easier to the same outcome).
The blogpost in the video is made by generating a list of lunar missions, and then turning them into a table, adding their budgets and sorting them chronologically. This looks very cool in the vid, but some things jump out as not ok. Results jump around the table for instance: Apollo 13 moves from 1970 to 2013 and changes budget. See image below. None of the listed budgets for Apollo missions, nor their total, match up with the detailed costs overview of Apollo missions (GoogleDocs spreadsheet). The budget column being imaginary and the table rows jumping around makes the result entirely unfit for usage of course. It also isn’t a useful prompt: needing to fact check every table field is likely more effort and less motivating than researching the table yourself from actual online resources directly.
It looks incredibly cool ‘see me writing a blogpost by merely typing in my wishes, and the work being done instantly’, and there are definitely times I’d wish that to be possible. To translate a mere idea or thought into some output directly however means I’d skip confronting such an idea with reality, with counter arguments etc. Most of my ideas only look cool inside my head, and need serious change to be sensibly made manifest in the world outside my head. This video is a bit like that, an idea that looks cool in one’s head but is great rubbish in practice. ChatGPT is hallucinating factoids and can’t be trusted to create your output. Using it in the context of discovery (as opposed to the justification context of your output such as in this video) is possible and potentially useful. However this integration within the Gutenberg writing back-end of WordPress puts you in the output context directly so it leads you to believe the generated plausible rubbish is output and not just prompting fodder for your writing. ‘Human made’ is misleading you with this video, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re misleading themselves as well. A bit like staging the ‘saw someone in half and put them together again’ magician’s trick in an operating room and inviting surgeons to re-imagine their work.
Taking a native-first approach to integrating generative AI into WordPress, we’ve been experimenting with approaches to a “WordPress Copilot” that can “speak” Gutenberg / block-editor.
Copy-pasting paragraphs between ChatGPT and WordPress only goes so far, while having the tools directly embedded in the editor … open up a world of possibilities and productivity wins…