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A Beginners Guide to ChatGPT with 5 Best Practices

Updated: May 3

You've signed in, now the fun starts.

Let's look at the screen elements first.

Once you start typing in your questions, it will look like this.

1) The Number 1 Very Important Rule When Using ChatGPT

Do not give it any personal information, (banking details, family structure, address, medical history etc). We have no idea where this technology is going yet and the people that own it are drunk on power; they simply cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Protect yourself always!

2) Get Organised Early

Since February 2023, I've gathered over 200 chats excluding the ones already deleted. You gather a mind-numbing volume of information at lightening speeds. The interface is not searchable, nor can ChatGPT see the previous conversations it's had with you (which I find bizarre); so, you can't ask it to summarize or find anything you discussed with it. The irony .... the makers of the platform are gathering ALL that information, yet you can't have it. Interesting approach.

This means you would need to manually scroll through all your chat titles, then manually scroll through the conversations. This becomes a painful exercise when you've had really long conversations unpacking a concept. We still need technology to manage technology.

I have found OneNote to be the best option for this. Word was too difficult to navigate and then you have to format headings etc. Excel just didn't feel right. OneNote is structured enough to store your unstructured conversations.

Copy and paste the important ones so you have that information. We don't know the stability of the platform yet and we may just end up losing all our chat histories to a glitch somewhere. Protect your business, get the information you need out. Then delete the miscellaneous chats that don't mean much.

3) Give Clear Context to Your Questions

If you walk up to a stranger and say "I need a recipe", what do you think their answer will be? They are going to need a bit more information than that. It's the same with ChatGPT - the more context you give it, the better your answers will be.

Here is an example of a simple request.

Look at the difference if we provide more information (context).

The questions you pose to it are called Prompt Engineering in AI circles. You can get far more complex and in-depth replies depending on how you pose your questions. Just get used to the basics now, you can learn the special tricks later.

4) Do NOT Believe Everything You Read!

For a couple of reasons :

a) ChatGPT suffers from delusions of grandeur called hallucinations. Basically, it gives false information and just makes things up. They actually tell us this when we sign up.

This is where it is handy to know at least something about the thing you are researching. You can then check its answers against what you know to be true, then vote that answer down if it is incorrect. Feel free to argue with it and call it on its B/S. (I will do another post on the fiasco that was a research project I did this week).

This is of course a challenge when you are asking about something you know nothing about at all. You absolutely have to cross check those answers with Google search results. Do not take them as fact. The machine is getting a lot wrong.

b) It has also only been programmed up to September 2021 so it does not have up to date information.

c) It has been given $10billion investment by Microsoft this year. Whilst they say they aren't owned by Microsoft, no-one is going to give you billions of Dollars for nothing... The answers we get are full of bias - to the people really running the show. It's the same old story; profit, power and agenda over mankind. This really has to stop.

So yeah, pinch of salt with some of the answers. Do your homework properly.

5) Know What You Want

This is such an existential question isn't it. Most people have no idea what they want and think AI might give it to them anyway. That's not how it works. You'll have to start asking some really deep questions soon.

We are all witnessing a fundamental change to how we will live in future. It's a very good time to really think about how you want that future to look.

Is it a dystopian nightmare where machines and the evil ones have permanently subjugated us all?

Or is it a kind, and fair world where everyone has been uplifted to new levels of prosperity, abundance, peace, and where we have been freed from our slavery?

It is up to every single one of us to decide now.

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