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Post: The Republican debate and ChatGPT — room for gen AI in politics?



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I found the Republican National Debate this week fascinating because, for once, it seemed to involve actual issues instead of regurgitated talking points. One comment caught my attention: it was an attack by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Vivek Ramaswamy implying he was a ChatGPT clone.

This wasn’t true, of course, but would that necessarily be a bad thing?

The critique goes to the struggle education is having about whether the use of ChatGPT is somehow cheating and it mirrors similar concerns that using that generative AI tools for work are also cheating. (This brought back a memory of being a kid on a farm, painting miles of fence surrounding the property but being told I couldn’t use a spray paint rig because that made the work fun — and work shouldn’t be fun. I disagreed with then and still do now.)

The view that using gen AI means you’re cutting corners — because you should be doing everything the old way — is simply wrong-headed. Let me explain.

Breaking ‘the-way-it’s-always-been-done’ habit

One of my frustrations when I first worked at a multi-national company was that, when you came up with an innovative way to fix an otherwise unfixable problem, colleagues would tell me, “That’s not the way it is done here” or some variant thereof. Whenever you wanted to try something different to overcome an obstacle, there was no end of people coming up with historic reasons why you couldn’t do so.

There are always risks with doing anything differently. Innovation for its own sake is foolish, because if there is an established way that works, reinventing the wheel only adds risk. But if you need to innovate to accomplish something, preventing that innovation just assures failure. 

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Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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