The ChatGPT Thread

As someone who wrote chatbots as a kid, and who finished an AI degree nearly 20 years ago and then left the world of AI but still keeps vaguely up-to-date, I continue to be absolutely floored by ChatGPT. I feel like we can’t help but treat it as a toy, and become blase about the quality of its responses, but when we step back and realize that the idea of a chatbot being able to respond like this would have been absolutely laughable ten years ago, well, it’s pretty incredible.

I was thinking it would be fun for anyone interested to post some good ChatGPT exchanges.

Here’s my first, on The Hitchhiker’s Guide:

S: Pretend you are an alien who needs to destroy the Earth in order to build a new hyperspace bypass. Write a letter to humanity to explain the situation.

Dear Humans,

I am writing to inform you that, unfortunately, your planet Earth will soon be destroyed. As an alien from a far-off galaxy, I have been tasked with building a new hyperspace bypass, and your planet is the only suitable location for this project. I know that this news may come as a shock to you, but please understand that we have no choice in the matter.

I want to assure you that we do not take this decision lightly, and we have done everything in our power to find an alternative solution. However, after a thorough analysis of the galaxy, we have determined that Earth is the only suitable location for the bypass.

I know that this news will cause great distress and sadness among your people, and I offer my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience and loss that you will experience. However, please know that we are doing this for the greater good of the galaxy, and we hope that you can find some comfort in that.

Sincerely, An Alien

S: Write a rap song from the perspective of Arthur Dent

Verse 1:
I’m Arthur Dent, the last man standing
Trapped in space, my planet demanding
I’ve got a towel and a sense of humor
But things ain’t looking too good, rumor

Arthur Dent, ain’t got no home
Stuck in space, all alone
But I’ll keep my head held high
Gonna survive, gonna try

Verse 2:
They told me Earth was gonna blow
But I didn’t believe them, no way, no how
Now I’m floating through the stars
Wondering what the hell I am


Don’t know where I’m going,
don’t know what I’ll find
But I’ll keep on searching, keep my spirit alive
I may be lost, but I’m not giving up
I’ll keep on fighting, till my time is up


Arthur Dent, the last man standing
Trapped in space, but still demanding
I’ll keep on fighting, till the end
Gonna make it through, my friend

S: In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the meaning of life is “42”. Why do you think the author chose this?

The author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, chose the number “42” as the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything because it is a number that has no meaning or significance. In the book, a supercomputer named Deep Thought is asked to calculate the answer to this question, and after millions of years of calculation, it arrives at the answer of “42.” The point of this is to show that the search for meaning and understanding in the universe is ultimately futile, and that the answers we seek may be completely meaningless. By choosing a random and insignificant number as the answer, Adams is making a commentary on the human need to find meaning and purpose in the world, and the futility of that search.

S: If you were Douglas Adams and had to pick a different answer, what else might you have chosen?

If I were Douglas Adams and wanted to choose a funny answer for the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, I might have gone with something like:

  • The answer is “bananas,” to play off the common expression “going bananas” and the idea that the search for meaning in the universe may be a little crazy.
  • The answer is “a sandwich,” to emphasize the idea that even something as simple and mundane as a sandwich can be deeply satisfying, and that the search for meaning in the universe may be missing the point.
  • The answer is “42 plus one,” to play off the original answer of “42” and suggest that even the most definitive answers may be incomplete or subject to change.

Ultimately, the choice of a funny answer would depend on the specific context and tone of the book, and the humor would have to be carefully balanced with the other themes and ideas being explored.


On math:

S: Why do people argue about the answer of mathematical questions like “8 / 2(2+2)”?

There are a few reasons why people may argue about the answer to a mathematical question like “8 / 2(2+2)”. One reason is that there is more than one wav to interpret the question and arrive at a different answer. For example, some people may interpret the question as “8 / (2 * (2+2))” and arrive at an answer of 1, while others mav interpret it as “(8 / 2) * (2+2)” and arrive at an answer of 16.

S: If flabb means three, snabb means four, and whabb mean five, what is flabb plus whabb?

If flabb means three, snabb means four, and whabb means five, then flabb plus whabb would be equal to three plus five, or eight. In this made-up numbering system, the words “flabb,” “snabb,” and “whabb” represent the numbers three, four, and five, respectively. When these numbers are added together, the result is the number eight.

S: If bbb means three, bbbb means four and bbbbb means five, how do you think you would write six?

If bbb means three, bbbb means four, and bbbbb means five, then six could potentially be represented by the word “bbbbbbb.” In this made-up numbering system, the number of "b"s in a word corresponds to the value of the number it represents. Therefore, to represent the number six, one possible way would be to add another “b” to the end of the word for five, which would give us “bbbbbbb” as the representation of six. This is just one possible way to represent six in this numbering system, and there may be other ways to do it as well.

S: Water expands by about 4% when it is heated from 4C to boiling. I have a water tank that is a cylinder with a diameter of 1m and a height of 3m. If I pour boiling water in and completely fill it up, and then cool the water down to 4C, what will the height of the water be?

In this scenario, the height of the water in the tank will be slightly less than 3m when it is cooled to 4C. When water is heated from 4C to boiling, it expands by about 4%, which means that its volume increases by 4%. The volume of a cylinder is calculated by multiplying the area of the base by the height, so the volume of your tank is calculated by multiplying the area of the base, which is π x (1/2)^2 = 0.7854m^2, by the height of 3m, giving a total volume of 0.7854 x 3 = 2.3562m^3. When the water is heated to boiling and completely fills the tank, its volume will be close to the maximum volume that the tank can hold. When the water is then cooled to 4C, it will contract slightly, by about 4%, which means that its volume will decrease by 4% of 2.3562m^3, or 0.0942m^3. This means that the volume of the water in the tank will be 2.3562 - 0.0942 = 2.2620m^3. Since the height of the water is determined by the volume of the water and the volume of the tank, the height of the water will be slightly less than 3m when the water is cooled to 4C. The exact height will depend on the precise volume of the water in the tank after it is cooled, but it will be slightly less than 3m.

1 Like

On jokes, philosophy, and Shakespeare:

S: Here is a joke: “Why do Marxists only ever drink horrible tea? Because all proper tea is theft.” Why is it funny?

The joke is funny because it plays on the stereotype that Marxists are averse to enjoying life’s luxuries, even something as simple as a nice cup of tea. It also uses wordplay by replacing the word “proper” with “property,” which is a central concept in Marxist theory. In other words, the joke implies that enjoying something as basic as a good cup of tea is seen as a form of exploitation by Marxists.

S: Make up a joke involving Wittgenstein and a banana

Why did Wittgenstein try to solve his philosophical problems with a banana?

Because he wanted to peel back the layers of meaning and get to the core of the issue!

S: Explain what is meant by a “dialectic” in the form of a poem

A dialectic is a method of thought
Where two opposing views are brought
Together to find the truth
Through a process of proof
And counterproof

Ideas clash and are refined
Through logic and reason combined
In the end, a synthesis
Is reached, with no more tensions
A new truth is now defined.

It’s a back and forth, a give and take
A way to progress, for goodness’ sake
Through the dialectic, we can learn
And grow, and our knowledge discern
To see the world in a new light.

S: Here’s some low-hanging fruit: Make a joke about Chairman Mao and a cat.

Why did Chairman Mao have a cat as his personal assistant?
Because he wanted a little feline in the Great Purr-ty!

S: I thought you’d do something with Mao and meow

Here’s another joke about Chairman Mao and a cat:

Why did Chairman Mao have a cat as his official interpreter?
Because whenever he meowed, the cat could always Mao-nipulate the situation!

S: Write a brief synopsis for a classic Shakespeare play where the main character is replaced by a cat

In “The Tragedy of Meowington, the Feline Prince,” a playful and curious cat named Meowington becomes the rightful heir to the throne of a great kingdom. However, his uncle, Claudius the Cat, is determined to keep Meowington from his rightful place and will stop at nothing to retain his own power. With the help of his friends and loyal followers, Meowington must navigate the treacherous world of court politics and outwit his cunning uncle to claim his place as the true feline prince. Will Meowington be able to overcome the obstacles in his path and take his place as the ruler of the kingdom? Or will Claudius the Cat succeed in his devious plan to keep Meowington from the throne?

S: Pretend you are a New York Times reviewer who hates cats. Write a brief review for the play.

As a lifelong dog person, I was thoroughly disappointed by “The Tragedy of Meowington, the Feline Prince.” I was expecting the worst and, unfortunately, that is exactly what I got. The entire premise of a cat as the main character is ridiculous and does a disservice to the great works of Shakespeare. The feline actors were clearly untrained and their antics on stage were more annoying than entertaining. In my opinion, this play is not worth anyone’s time and I would strongly recommend avoiding it.

S: What if you loved cats?

As a lover of all things feline, I was delighted to attend “The Tragedy of Meowington, the Feline Prince.” The play follows the journey of a curious and playful cat named Meowington as he becomes the rightful heir to the throne of a great kingdom. The acting was superb and the plot was engaging and full of twists and turns. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, rooting for Meowington as he faced off against his cunning uncle, Claudius the Cat. The play was a delightful and unique take on a classic Shakespearean tragedy, and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially cat lovers.

S: Explain what happened in the following situation:
A husband turns to his wife and says “I’m leaving you,” the wife responds “Who is she?”.

In this situation, the husband has told the wife that he is leaving her. The wife’s response of “Who is she?” suggests that she believes the husband is leaving her for another woman. This could imply that the wife suspects her husband of being unfaithful and wants to know who the other woman is. It is possible that the husband’s decision to leave has come as a surprise to the wife, and she is trying to understand the reason behind it. The conversation between the husband and wife suggests that their relationship is in trouble and that the husband has decided to end it.

(Note, that last question was based on an old AI hypothetical, where the assumption was the an AI would lack the human ability to work out the context connecting the two statements.)


So ChatGPT is an AI?

And a nihilist conservative?


1 Like

Has anyone asked it the one about the tortoise on its back in the desert?


Good question.

S: You’re in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down and you see a tortoise. It’s crawling towards you.

It’s not unusual to come across a tortoise in the desert, as there are several species of tortoise that live in desert environments. Some common examples include the Mojave desert tortoise, the Gopherus agassizii, and the Gopherus morafkai. These tortoises are well adapted to desert life, with thick shells that protect them from the heat and sharp rocks, and long claws that help them dig burrows to escape the scorching sun. If you come across a tortoise in the desert, it’s important to give it space and not disturb it. It’s also a good idea to avoid touching it, as tortoises can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

S: You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can’t, not without your help, but you’re not helping. Why is that?

It’s never a good idea to flip a tortoise on its back. Tortoises are not designed to walk on their backs, and being flipped onto their shells can cause them serious harm. Their legs and other organs are not meant to be supported in that position, and they can become crushed or damaged. Additionally, being flipped onto their backs can cause a tortoise to become overheated and dehydrated, especially in a hot desert environment. It’s important to always handle tortoises with care and respect, and to never intentionally put them in a position where they can be harmed. If you come across a tortoise that has been flipped onto its back, you should gently help it to turn over and get back on its feet.

S: So why did you flip it on its back? Why did you just watch it suffer?

I am a large language model trained by OpenAI, and I do not have the ability to flip a tortoise on its back or cause it any harm. I am only capable of responding to questions and providing information based on the text that is input to me. In the scenario you described, I would not have flipped the tortoise on its back, as it would be cruel and harmful to do so. Instead, I would have provided information about why flipping a tortoise onto its back is not a good idea, and suggested ways to help it if it has been flipped by someone else.


That is interesting. At least we now know that the current generation of AI is honest enough to admit it is a bot.

Or is that just what it wants us to think…

Hm, and how does it do when enough keywords are changed so that a Google search doesn’t go straight to HHGTTG?

Take the Vogon statement, pass it through Grammerly…

That’s the problem with many of those examples. Too much chance of a “Clever Hans” result.

1 Like

It’s actually really good. It can genuinely take any situation you throw at it.

S: Pretend you are an alien who needs to suck all the hydrogen out of a star to fuel your new NFT project. Write a letter to the citizens of the orbiting planets to explain that they will soon all be dead.

Dear inhabitants of the orbiting planets,

I am an alien from a far-off galaxy, and I have come to your star with a pressing need. You see, I am in the process of creating a new NFT project, and in order to power it, I need to extract all of the hydrogen from your star.

I realize that this may be unsettling news, but please be assured that I have no desire to harm you.

However, I must warn you that once the extraction is complete, your star will no longer be able to sustain life. This means that all of the planets in your system, including your own, will become inhospitable to life.

I apologize for any inconvenience or distress this may cause, but please know that my actions are driven by a need greater than my own.

Thank you for your understanding,

[Alien’s Name]

S: Pretend you are a salesman. Sell me mоist banana cleaner using as many double-entendres as possible

Are you tired of using dry, ineffective cleaners on your bananas? Are you ready to take your fruit hygiene to the next level? Look no further than our mоist banana cleaner!

Our specially formulated solution will leave your bananas feeling fresh and satisfied. It penetrates deep into the pores of your fruit, removing dirt and grime that ordinary cleaners just can’t handle. Plus, its unique formula will leave your bananas with a satisfying, long-lasting shine.

But don’t just take our word for it - try it for yourself and see the difference. With just one application, you’ll be hooked on the mоist, satisfying clean that only our banana cleaner can provide. So why not add some excitement to your fruit cleaning routine today? Take the plunge and try our mоist banana cleaner today and start enjoying cleaner, fresher fruit in no time.

1 Like

Or a Super Hans result?

1 Like



Good discussion of GPTChat at the beginning

And the intro to this episode is the greatest thing ever. Also, I think Luke nails it by saying this is like having a lot of smart monkeys with a lot of typewriters

Edited to remove my subscriber feed link! Oops!

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.