Living Out Loud

Artificial Intelligence and Me, An Average Guy


When ChatGPT was first announced, I wasn't blogging and didn't spend much time keeping up with tech trends. My online presence at the time was lots of Reddit doomscrolling, some Facebook and Google News. Then I came out of retirement, went back to work in a tech job, turned off the worst of Reddit and started subscribing to RSS feeds from quality sites. I picked up on the AI excitement and went to the website and opened an account. I wrote a generic paragraph of text, asked AI to rewrite it for me and took a look at the result. "That's kind of cool" I thought and then didn't mess with it again for months.

I had a situation where I had to write a letter to a professor at the university where I work to tell her that we were not going to fulfill a request she made regarding repurposing some obsolete equipment. I'm not always real diplomatic, so I decided to try letting AI write the letter. I let one of my co-workers read the result and he told me that under no circumstances should I use it. It was kind of horrible. That was my one and only try at letting AI speak for me. I'm one of five people at work who have access to CoPilot for Outlook and I've never used it a single time.

in November of 2023, I opened a developer account with so that I could use ChatGPT 4.0 on a pay as you go basis. I plugged my API key into a few apps and used them to answer random specific questions like these:

Write an  AppleScript to minimize all open windows
 How would I format an inline search query in Obsidian to find notes containing both the words "arc" and "browser" and display the results as a list with the newest note listed first
Write a powershell command to slugify text, replacing spaces with underscores and making it all lower case
Help me come up with a plan to start a blog this year. I want to write about technology and software and reach an audience of people with similar interests.
How do I set the path to an executable file in Python?

To date, I've spent less than $10 with, leading me to believe that paying $20 a month is a total waste, especially now that they have made many of the features free.

I've also looked at other LLMs like Claude and Perplexity, using them occasionally to answer questions but still relying primarily on standard Google searches executed through Raycast, a keyboard launcher for macOS. I even edited my Google search parameters to exclude AI answers.

In the name of curiosity, I've experimented with creating graphics via AI on a handful of occasions. I never know what to tell it to create so I usually come up with something weird like cows playing baseball or an elephant using an iMac. I don't ordinarily use the results on my blog or post them to Facebook, so these are just examples.

Cows on a baseball field
Cows on a baseball field

When Google changed the name of its AI from Bard to Gemini, it offered a free trial to existing Google One members and I took advantage of the offer. I spent the better part of two afternoons letting it show me how to download and configure Python. I used Gemini to craft a Python script that edited 500+ markdown files (my imported bookmarks) in my Obsidian vault. It moved text in the form of an inline properties field for URLs from the body of the note into the YAML front matter. It was pretty cool but that was in March and I haven't touched Python since then.

I'm in the habit of writing on a daily basis and I haven't found a way to use AI as an aid in a way that I'm comfortable with. Standard grammar and spelling tools work just fine for me. The few times I've tried to let Gemini or ChatGPT have a shot at rewriting my stuff, the results sounded so foreign that I read them once and just deleted them. Once I asked Gemini to write some three sentence descriptions of a few apps and it did a fair job, but I still preferred writing them myself.

With the announcement of Apple Intelligence at WWDC 2024, a souped-up Siri and generative AI to create emojis, I'm merely curious rather than excited. Apple tends to do pretty well in its implementation of new technologies, and I doubt this will be any different but I'm not expecting anything world shaking. I'm going to keep up business as usual and if something really exciting comes out, I expect the cool kids will let me know.