At dinner parties nourished by copious wine, stories emerge carried by words in the right combination. Often unbidden and pulled out of imperfect memory.
The stories are recited not because of their irrefutable factual truth but because they make a point. Or they’re just plain entertaining. Maybe even funny.
Embellishment is often needed to carry the tale.
The power of words
The power of words crafted to tell a human story motivates and moves us to tears or to laughter. Often we share boring facts and information and wonder why people’s attention evaporates.
The power of a personal story and sharing snippets into the insights of our vulnerability reveals why, “People may forget what you told them but they will remember how you made them feel”.
The power of words is what makes people act. They help us grow and thrive and also to destroy. Myths, fairytales, and religion are built on human language. They touch the deepest corners of our souls. Awakening fears, desires, and joy.
Yuval Noah Harari, the historian and the author behind the books “Sapien – The Brief History of Humankind” and “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” is concerned that AI and ChatGPT are hacking the “Human Operating System”.
He thinks that the use and application of words driven by the “AI Oracle” could usurp our humanity. His fear is that AI tapping into the power of words will be able to hack and manipulate our Homo sapien spirit. Creating new stories and myths that have little or no meaning.
“In the beginning was the word. Language is the operating system of human culture. From language emerges myth and law, gods and money, art and science, friendships and nations, and computer code. A.I.’s new mastery of language means it can now hack and manipulate the operating system of civilization. By gaining mastery of language, A.I. is seizing the master key to civilization.”
The discussions about AI have produced a range of strong opinions that include scenarios from dystopian to utopian. The reality will rest somewhere in the middle.
Words are everywhere
Words are like chemical equations mixed with hinted meaning and emotive suggestions. Words are the base metals that can transmute an idea into gold. It is a medieval alphabetical alchemy.
World-class presenters often have a technique of telling a story and making a point. And then you will remember. The narrative carries the message. To see a world champion of storytelling, watch Mohammed Qahtani present his 2015 World Champion Toastmasters speech.
Movie and television scriptwriters agonize over stories and word wrangling. Their aim? To take you on a journey into the human imagination. Their tools and templates include story arcs such as “The Hero’s Journey” that are proven through millennia of myths, fairy tales, and fireside storytelling.
Gifted writers and storytellers like Stephen King, John Le Carre, and J. K. Rowling will take you on a visual and sensory adventure as they craft words together that make you see, touch, smell, and feel. They take you to places. Science fiction authors take you into the future. Historical fiction writers take you back into the past. It’s time travel with words.
Truth, stories and nuance
I have also often used the line “Don’t ruin a good story with the truth” and a lawyer or two sitting nearby have been known to take umbrage. John Le Carre knows that facts are the raw materials that creative writers polish and wrestle into a symphony. A piece of art.
“To the lawyer, truth is facts unadorned. Whether such facts are ever findable is another matter. To the creative writer, the fact is raw material, not his taskmaster but his instrument, and his job is to make it sing. Real truth lies, if anywhere, not in facts, but in nuance.” – The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John le Carré.
The big problem with ChatGPT
ChatGPT has certain laws it must obey that have been provided by its designers and taskmasters. It can’t embellish and the inbuilt algorithms are there just to produce reliable information. Thats its big problem. It isn’t a story teller or an imagineer.
Its rules and guardrails prohibit it from adding nuance or something more to make a point. So any subtlety is lost in the torrent of prescribed information.
Telling stories is its Achilles heel. Imagination is lost in its prison that is locked into its own man made laws. Information is its mantra.
So….words on their own in the souped up Artificial intelligence of ChatGPT is just soulless information. A well designed mix of words that seem to be dictionary driven or a themed thesaurus.
In the right mix, words are magical. Touch our hearts. With the right sequence and matrix they inspire. For the dictator, they are weapons to control.
Chat GPT is just information. We need more imagination.
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