Reid Hoffman has just released a new book titled Impromptu which he said was co-authored with GPT-4, the latest generational AI model from OpenAI. In one of the chapters in the book titled “Public Intellectuals” he describes a series of “possible interviews” between “widely honored public intellectuals”.
This was the first time I had come across this notion of prompting GPT-4 to generate such interviews – and I just had to try some of my own. I don’t (yet!) have access to GPT-4 so I used ChatGPT and it’s GPT-3.5 model to create a few of my own fictional conversations.
Here are a couple of examples:
These are fun to read and enjoy. By no means are they actually significant but the ability of these models to use some aspects of historical “knowledge” to generate these conversations is something I find fascinating.
Abraham Lincoln interviewing George Washington about the future of democracy
[Setting: A quiet room in the White House, with a roaring fireplace casting a warm glow. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, two of the most prominent Presidents of the United States, are sitting across from each other in comfortable armchairs, engaged in an animated discussion about the future of democracy.]
Abraham Lincoln: [Leaning forward, his tall stature commanding attention] Mr. Washington, it is an honor to be in your esteemed presence. As one of the Founding Fathers and the first President of the United States, you played a crucial role in shaping this great nation. I am curious to hear your thoughts on the future of democracy.
George Washington: [Sitting up straight, his piercing gaze fixed on Lincoln] Thank you, Mr. Lincoln. It’s a pleasure to discuss such an important topic with you. As you know, democracy is a fragile concept that requires constant vigilance to ensure its survival. I am deeply concerned about its future.
Abraham Lincoln: Indeed, democracy is a delicate balance that must be nurtured and protected. We have witnessed the challenges it faces throughout history, including during my own presidency, when our nation was torn apart by civil war. However, I believe that democracy is a system that can endure, as long as we learn from our mistakes and strive to uphold the values of equality, liberty, and justice for all.
George Washington: I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Lincoln. We must be vigilant in safeguarding the principles upon which our democracy was founded. It is essential to protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens, regardless of their race, religion, or background. We must also ensure that our government remains of the people, by the people, and for the people, and that no one becomes above the law or abuses their power.
Abraham Lincoln: Absolutely, Mr. Washington. We must also be mindful of the dangers of division and polarization within a democracy. As we have seen in recent times, the spread of misinformation, the erosion of trust in institutions, and the rise of partisan politics can threaten the very fabric of democracy. We must work towards fostering unity, inclusivity, and mutual respect among all citizens, and find common ground to address the challenges we face.
George Washington: I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Lincoln. We must prioritize the greater good over personal interests and ensure that our elected leaders serve the people with integrity and transparency. We must also promote education, critical thinking, and civic engagement among our citizens to ensure an informed and active electorate that can hold its leaders accountable.
Abraham Lincoln: Indeed, education and civic engagement are vital for the health of democracy. As you once said, “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” We must invest in the education of our citizens, promote civil discourse, and encourage participation in the democratic process to ensure a well-informed and engaged citizenry that can actively participate in shaping the future of our nation.
George Washington: Absolutely, Mr. Lincoln. We must also recognize that democracy is not static but evolves with the changing needs and aspirations of our society. It is important to adapt and reform our democratic institutions to address new challenges and ensure that they remain relevant and effective in promoting the common good. We must also remain vigilant against threats to democracy, both from within and outside our nation, and take necessary measures to safeguard our democratic values and institutions.
Abraham Lincoln: Well said, Mr. Washington. Democracy is indeed a living, breathing organism that requires constant care and attention. As we move forward into the future, it is our responsibility to uphold the legacy of those who came before us and continue to strengthen and improve our democratic system, so that it may endure for generations to come.
George Washington: Absolutely, Mr. Lincoln. As you once said, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered… deeply, finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” We must never forget the immense responsibility that we have as citizens of a democracy, and do everything in our power to preserve and improve it for the greater good.
Abraham Lincoln: Well said, Mr. Washington. It has been an honor to discuss the future of democracy with you, and I hope that our conversation has inspired others to think deeply about the importance of democracy and the role that we all play in ensuring its continued success.
George Washington: Likewise, Mr. Lincoln. It is always a pleasure to engage in meaningful discussions about the future of our nation. I have no doubt that with continued vigilance, hard work, and dedication, we can ensure a bright future for democracy in America and around the world.
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates discussing the role of taste in technology development
[Interviewer]: Good evening, everyone. Today, we have two legendary figures in the tech world with us: Mr. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., and Mr. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft. Today, we’re going to discuss the importance of good taste in technology and product development. Welcome, Steve and Bill.
[Steve Jobs]: Thank you for having us.
[Bill Gates]: It’s a pleasure to be here.
[Interviewer]: Let’s start with the topic of good taste. Steve, you were known for your emphasis on aesthetics and design at Apple. Can you share your thoughts on why good taste is crucial in technology and product development?
[Steve Jobs]: Absolutely. Good taste goes beyond just how a product looks. It’s about the overall user experience, from design to functionality. It’s about understanding what people truly need and want, and then creating products that not only meet those needs but also delight the user in unexpected ways. Good taste is about paying attention to details, thinking deeply about how technology can enhance people’s lives, and creating products that are intuitive, elegant, and enjoyable to use.
[Bill Gates]: I agree with Steve. Good taste is about making technology and products that are not only efficient but also pleasurable to use. It’s about understanding that people have emotional connections with the products they use, and that those connections can drive their loyalty and satisfaction. Good taste is about creating technology that seamlessly integrates into people’s lives and enhances their overall experience, making it a joy to use every day.
[Interviewer]: Bill, as a co-founder of Microsoft, a company known for its focus on functionality and productivity, how do you view the role of good taste in product development?
[Bill Gates]: Good taste is essential in product development, even if the focus is on functionality and productivity. It’s not just about how a product looks, but also how it feels and how it works. A product with good taste is something that users enjoy using, and that makes them more productive because they are using a tool that feels intuitive and easy to use. At Microsoft, we have always strived to make our products not just efficient but also enjoyable to use. We understand that people spend a lot of time using their technology, and we want to make that time as pleasant and productive as possible.
[Steve Jobs]: I completely agree with Bill. Good taste is about creating products that are both beautiful and functional. It’s about making technology that people want to use, not just something they have to use. At Apple, we always put the user experience first, and that includes paying attention to every detail, from the design of the hardware to the layout of the software. We want our products to be easy to use, intuitive, and a pleasure to interact with.
[Interviewer]: What are some examples of products that you both feel embody good taste?
[Bill Gates]: For me, one of the products that best embodies good taste is the Tesla Model S. It’s a beautifully designed car that’s also incredibly functional and efficient. It’s a product that people love to use and that has created a loyal following among its users.
[Steve Jobs]: I would say that the iPhone is a product that embodies good taste. It’s a device that completely transformed the way we interact with technology, and it did so by paying attention to every detail of the user experience. From the design of the hardware to the intuitive software, the iPhone is a product that people love to use, and it has become an integral part of their lives.
[Interviewer]: Thank you both for your insights on the importance of good taste in technology and product development. It’s been a pleasure to have you here with us today.
[Steve Jobs]: Thank you for having us.
[Bill Gates]: It was a pleasure to be here.
A heated discussion between Elon Musk and Sam Altman of OpenAI on the future of GPT models.
Elon Musk and Sam Altman sat across from each other at a table in a conference room. The topic at hand was the future of GPT models, and both men had strong opinions on the matter.
Elon Musk began the discussion, “Sam, I think we need to be careful with how we use GPT models. They have the potential to do a lot of good, but they also have the potential to do a lot of harm. We need to make sure we are responsible with them.”
Sam Altman countered, “I understand your concerns, Elon, but I think you are being overly cautious. GPT models have the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate and do business. We can’t hold back progress just because of a few potential risks.”
Elon Musk leaned forward, his eyes narrowing. “I’m not talking about a few potential risks, Sam. I’m talking about the very real possibility that GPT models could be used to spread misinformation, manipulate people, and even cause harm. We can’t just ignore those risks.”
Sam Altman shook his head. “I think you’re being too alarmist, Elon. We can’t just hold back progress because of some hypothetical worst-case scenarios. We need to push forward and explore the possibilities.”
Elon Musk leaned back in his chair, frustration evident on his face. “I’m not saying we should hold back progress, Sam. I’m saying we need to be responsible with it. We need to make sure we understand the risks and take steps to mitigate them. Otherwise, we could end up causing more harm than good.”
Sam Altman leaned forward, his voice rising. “And I’m saying that you’re being too cautious, Elon. We can’t just sit around and wait for the perfect solution to emerge. We need to take risks and explore the possibilities, otherwise, we’ll be left behind by our competitors.”
Elon Musk stood up, his face red with anger. “I’m sorry, Sam, but I can’t just sit back and watch you make reckless decisions that could have serious consequences. I think we need to take a step back and re-evaluate our approach to GPT models.”
Sam Altman stood up as well, his voice equally heated. “And I can’t just sit back and watch you hold us back with your overly cautious approach. We need to move forward and explore the possibilities, otherwise, we’ll be left behind.”
The two men glared at each other for a moment before storming out of the conference room, still arguing about the future of GPT models.