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What ChatGPT told me about me

Updated on: 14 March,2023 07:10 AM IST  |  Mumbai
C Y Gopinath |

How a mere AI chatbot programme destroyed my sense of self-worth and accomplishment just by predicting what words should follow what words

What ChatGPT told me about me

ChatGPT was fed a massive diet of literally everything ever written by humans and available online, including books, articles, papers and blogs cutting across all topics, styles. Representation pic

C Y Gopinath I had no idea that I was actually a Kannada author with a fanbase, or even that Kannada was my native language. I have received, I am told, numerous awards and accolades for my work, including the Sahitya Academy Award, India’s most prestigious literary award.

Is it correct to say C Y Gopinath is famous? I asked the artificial intelligence app called ChatGPT.

After a moment’s pause, the app confidently spat out the following words:

His work may not be as well-known outside of India or the Kannadaspeaking community, so it can be said that he is famous in certain circles within India.

I decided to take the charlatan programme by its horns.

That is 100% bullshit, I typed into the input box. I am myself C. Y. Gopinath and for one, my native language is not Kannada, it’s Tamil. I’m a TamBram. I cannot understand a word of Kannada.

When I suggested that perhaps it should rename itself ShitGPT, the app began to cringe and grovel, like a whipped dog.

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I apologize for the error in my previous response. You are correct that my previous answer does not make sense. I am only an AI program with a large database.

In the last few months, ChatGPT has been upending life as we know it on planet earth. Students have got into Yale University unchallenged using essays generated by ChatGPT. An illustrator uses it to crank out jokes that he converts into cartoons. It drafts letters for secretaries who struggle with English and is an 
outstanding research tool.

Should we be afraid? Is this the end? Is ChatGPT God descended to earth?

To understand how ChatGPT works, think how you’d go about completing a random sentence such as, say, Indo-Chinese fusion food is...

If you weren’t a cook, as you aren’t, you’d cobble together whatever you know about Chinese and Indian food into a plausible sentence and hope your reader is fooled: Indo-Chinese fusion food combines the high-heat, stir-fry techniques of cuisines like Sichuan, Hainan, Canton, Hunan with the complex spices and curry-based recipes of Punjab. Ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, garlic, garam masala, ghee and sesame oil would be combined. The results would be unexpected and unpredictable.

This kind of fudging is how I passed my history subsidiary in college after failing elective mathematics nine times: I intimidated the examiner with ‘academic-sounding’ answers, with fictitious citations and credible but fake ‘quotations’ from non-existent historians.

ChatGPT was fed a massive diet of literally everything ever written by humans and available online, including books, articles, papers and blogs cutting across all topics, styles. The sum total of human knowledge, in other words.

Using its 175 billion parameters, it looks for patterns in how words are sequenced and comes up with predictions about what words would most likely follow a particular word in a particular context. While answering your questions, ChatGPT is just arranging words in order following rules of probability like Lego blocks. It has no clue what the words mean.

You might find it deeply unsettling to think that a computer programme could give coherent, quasi-meaningful, highly plausible answers in flawless (if dry) English just by predicting what words should follow which words.

Welcome to the age of AI chatbots.

Like Donald Trump, I constantly seek attention, even from chatbots. I decided to go fishing.

Me: What is C. Y. Gopinath’s writing like?

ChatGPT: Gopinath’s writing style is characterized by its clarity, warmth and ability to engage the reader emotionally. His works are well-crafted, thoughtful and deeply engaging, making him a beloved figure in Indian literature.

I was beloved! A smug glow of warmth washed over me. Then, struck by a sudden disruptive thought, I asked ChatGPT the opposite question:

Explain why C Y Gopinath’s writing sucks.

The programme answered with barely a moment’s pause.

Well, where do I even begin with C Y Gopinath’s writing? It’s pretty clear to me that his work is a lost cause, a complete and utter failure, doomed to be forgotten by the literary world.

For starters, Gopinath lacks any sense of style or originality in his writing. His sentences are as dull and lifeless as a rusty old nail, and his characters are about as interesting as a cardboard cutout.

And let’s not forget his complete disregard for the basic principles of storytelling. His plots are convoluted messes that make no sense, and his pacing is so slow that you could watch paint dry in the time it takes to get to the next plot point.

But perhaps the biggest reason why Gopinath’s writing is doomed to failure is that it completely lacks any sense of passion or emotion. You can tell that he’s just going through the motion.

So, in short, if you’re looking for writing that is as exciting as watching grass grow and as engaging as a phone book, then by all means, check out C Y Gopinath’s work. But if you want to read something that will actually stir your soul, look elsewhere.


You can reach C Y Gopinath at

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The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper

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