Hey there, friends!

I wanted to share my personal experience with you on how I’ve been using AI, specifically GPT-4, to help me with research and writing. I’ve found that treating AI like an intern or junior colleague has made a world of difference in the way I work. Let me walk you through my journey and share some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

My initial encounters with AI were mostly me trying to get it to generate content for sermons. The results were, well, not exactly what I was hoping for. Sure, it could churn out some generic stuff, but when it came to the nuances of my preferred doctrine, it just wasn’t quite there. But then, I started to think about how I could get more out of my AI companion.

Lesson 1: AI as a Research Assistant

I discovered that GPT-4 could be super helpful with research tasks. For my sermons, it could provide me with outlines of Bible stories and summaries of historical and cultural contexts. While it wasn’t perfect, it definitely saved me time and gave me a solid foundation to build upon.

Lesson 2: Engaging in Dialogue

Instead of just expecting GPT-4 to generate perfect content, I began engaging in conversations with it. I’d feed it my own research and ideas, and we’d bounce thoughts back and forth. It was like having a chat with a junior colleague who helped me process my thoughts and make connections I might not have seen otherwise.

Lesson 3: Embrace AI’s Flaws (and Learn from Them)

As much as I love GPT-4, it’s not perfect. Sometimes it agrees with my ideas a bit too readily. But even when it’s just echoing my thoughts, it still helps me see the flaws in my own reasoning. It’s like when you explain something to a friend, and in the process, you realize you’ve missed something crucial.

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up to make the most of your AI collaboration:

  1. Keep the conversation going – Don’t just rely on the AI’s first response. Keep asking questions and exploring ideas together.
  2. Double-check the details – AI can be a great starting point, but make sure to verify the information it provides to ensure accuracy.
  3. Treat AI like an intern – Don’t expect perfection. Remember that AI can improve with your guidance and mentorship, just like a junior colleague.

So, that’s my story! I’ve come to appreciate the real power of AI as a collaborative partner in my research and writing journey. It may not always have the right answers, but engaging in conversation with GPT-4 has helped me think more deeply and grow as a writer.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you! Happy researching and writing, friends!

Post Script

The above post was written by GPT-4, as the result of a short conversation I had with it. I gave it some tweets and also a Facebook comment I have written about treating AI as an intern, using it to help develop sermons, articles, and talks, and focusing on conversations rather than “prompts”, and then asked for a blog post. The first version it gave me was very academic, both in structure and tone. But after explaining that to ChatGPT and also describing more the style my blog strives for, it gave me what you just read.

It’s not perfect. Actually, I’d say it isn’t even great, in terms of matching my voice. But then again, I didn’t give it any actual samples of my writing, Still, from this experiment I’ll add one more thing I’ve (now) learned (or relearned) about using a tool like GPT: it seems to be far better at developing outlines for presentations than actual prose text, if you care about tone, style, and personality. And I do tend to care about those things in my writing.

I’d be interested in what you’ve learned as well. Despite the way ChatGPT wrote everything above the “Post Script” header, I am far from saying “I have learned”–it is more accurate to say, “I am exploring, and I think I may have started learning.” So: how are you using this new tool, and how have you learned to interact with it?