How to Use ChatGPT

Everyone has questions. And until now, everyone asked Google by typing queries in a search box. Well, along came ChatGPT with a whole new approach that is more specific, engaging, and user-friendly.

In contrast to Google’s search engine, ChatGPT can accept a greater amount of input from the user (including text content), and engage in a conversation. ChatGPT learns more about you and what you want via this “conversation.” Learning how to use ChatGPT will be essential for everyone from content creators, to graphic designers to application programmers.

This is a milestone digital tool and it’s easy to see how it can give users an advantage in life, business, and who knows, maybe interpersonal relations too.  At some point, it may be able to advise on stocks, housing, medical issues, travel destinations, cuisine, entertainment, music and more.  We’ll see how fast they can develop it.

This post dives into the matter of how to use ChatGPT and how to formulate and improve your questions/prompts.

ChatGPT as an AI Marketing Software?

ChatGPT is an impressive search tool — and many are looking at it an AI marketing software tool particularly as a content generative app. It’s a versatile research and production tool that will only improve with the ChatGPT-4 release soon.

ChatGPT is a chatbot which responds to user’s requests for help very well.  Yet, it hasn’t been fully developed, a weakness which Microsoft is no doubt working on fiendishly as we speak. Microsoft just announced it is integrating it quickly into Bing (after acquiring OpenAI which created ChatGPT), and continues to do so.

ChatGPT interface

We can likely forget about Siri, Alexa and Hey Google. This personal assistant is becoming what we really want, a personal advisor with seemingly infinite capabilities. There’s talk about Google’s BARD that’s in the works, yet many in Silicon Valley and other tech centers likely believe OpenAI is a better platform to work with.

There’s talk of students using it to cheat on exams and school projects.  Seems unlikely anyone can let it write a university thesis, or deep research paper, yet it’s got that potential.

Ambitious Use for AI Chat — Stock Investing

One of the topics of keen interest for many is stock market investing. When we trial ChatGPTs stock market forecast capacity, we find it isn’t developed to forecast the stock market nor evaluate and pick the most promises stocks to buy. Can ChatGPT understand and evaluate company financials, news announcements, stock market indexes, and expert stock ratings? Will it have an impact on the S&P, Dow Jones, and NASDAQ indexes?  Is it reliable to make 3 month, 6 month and 5 year forecasts any better than an expert?

Will ChatGPT Replace Google?

Is ChatGPT the new Google? Well, ChatGPT doesn’t produce search engine results to help us help ourselves. It simply creates a conversation with you and gives you opinions based on the data it can access. Sometimes it won’t give you what you want based on ownership rights or other philosophical limitations programmed into it.

There is a call to stop AI development by some, because they’ve finally discovered how powerful ChatGPT is.

Google prides itself in personalized search results, but ChatGPT looks like might give us much better search results, not just high powered corporate web pages or YouTube videos.  Trust, credibility, and transparency will eventually be a big part of its own information system.  It does serve up bad material for some topics.

Yet ChatGPT isn’t for replacing Google. Its purpose is to help us understand our questions better and accelerate our path to insight and solutions. It can weed out the irrelevant and fraudulent too.

We should never consider ChatGPT’s output as truth or without errors. The problem is, we don’t know what those errors are. It’s workings and algorithm are hidden.  And perhaps some of the errors occur because we don’t know how to use this new AI software. There are plenty more drawbacks and cautions about this system, and I’ll cover them in a later post.

Disappointment at First

Have you used ChatGPT and found it doesn’t quite produce the depth and effectiveness you hoped for?

Yes, it can produce some gobbledegook. What you’ll discover in using it, is that you must train ChatGPT as your assistant. That means first learning how ChatGPT processes instructions (what they call prompts) and then improve your prompts (questions/instructions) until you get the performance you need.

They are scheduling the release of another upgrade this year, so it will be interesting how much more capable it is. It’s a fascinating research and learning tool, that can accelerate your learning curve.

Give Instruction/Questions the Right Way

When you ask a child to do something, have you noticed they often misunderstand what you say? Is it because they’re not able to comprehend your language or because you actually didn’t ask the question properly?

We don’t think much about how to speak to children or anyone for that matter. We feel entitled to speak as we please and it’s the other person’s problem to understand our meaning. Unfortunately, artificial intelligence systems can’t read our minds and they’re literally dependent on you asking in fashion or syntax that they’re programmed for.

Just because ChatGPT is conversational, doesn’t mean it can comprehend like human.  How they’ve programmed it, makes it depend on you for the right instructions, context and direction. So in the AI era, when they so crudely say garbage in, garbage out, they might be referring to your questions!

There’s 3 elements of the system to know:

  1. the scale and makeup of the database it accesses and how relevant they are to your topic
  2. how it processes and assembles output (its programming)
  3. the input/instructions it receives from you

Since most users don’t know how to ask it questions, the users are the weak point in this whole ChatGPT success equation.  This technology is powerful, yet we need to perfect our instructions, questions, and give ChatGPT some help.

I asked ChatGPT how to structure my question to it. It might have been too simple and it could require deeper, more specific expressions to lay out a more comprehensive answer. And this is actually part of the process in using it.

It’s a long conversation that improves.

This is its reply to my question:

To effectively communicate with ChatGPT, it’s helpful to structure your questions in a clear and concise manner. Here are a few tips to consider when asking questions:

Start with a clear and specific question: Begin your question with a clear, direct statement that states what information you are seeking.

Use proper grammar and spelling: ChatGPT is designed to respond to well-written questions, so be sure to use proper grammar and spelling to make it easier for the model to understand and respond to your question.

Avoid asking open-ended questions: Open-ended questions can be difficult to answer definitively, so it’s best to avoid asking them. Instead, try to frame your question in a way that can be answered with a clear and concise response.

Provide context if necessary: If your question requires background information or context, include it in your question. This will help ChatGPT understand your question and provide a more accurate response.

Be specific: The more specific your question, the more accurate and helpful ChatGPT’s response will be. So, instead of asking a general question, try to ask for specific information or data.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your questions are structured in a way that allows ChatGPT to provide you with the information you’re looking for.

And after rephrasing my question, I get additional information from ChatGPT:

To write a better question for ChatGPT, it’s helpful to include the following items:

Action verb: Start your question with an action verb that clearly states what you want to know, such as “What is”, “How does”, “Can you explain”.

Relevant information: Provide any relevant information that ChatGPT needs to answer your question, such as specific terms, dates, locations, etc.

Context: If necessary, provide additional context or background information that can help ChatGPT better understand your question and provide a more accurate answer.

Clarity: Make sure your question is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid using complex language or technical terms that may be difficult for ChatGPT to interpret.

Tone: Write your question in a neutral and polite tone, and avoid using offensive or disrespectful language.
By including these items in your question, you can help ChatGPT provide you with a more accurate and helpful answer.

Nicely presented in a few seconds.  I asked ChatGPT further if it could provide a more specific, detailed instruction about the components of an ideal question, such as a question structure or an equation. It actually produced one:

Here is a formula you could use to ask effective questions to ChatGPT:

[What] [do you want to know] [about a specific topic/concept] [in a specific context] [with a desired output format, if necessary]?
Example: What are the key features of a good property maintenance company, and how can they help rental property owners?

A formula is excellent because it helps us conceptualize, organize and provide better instructions, and thus have better answers returned to us.

Tips on Questions and Instructions for ChatGPT

  1. be specific — give it a task to complete and set some guidelines or keys for it to create a context for a good answer (e.g., what are the 5 key most important indicators for a stock that is going to rise in price)
  2. use simple words and avoid using jargon – useless words will cause it to plumb the depths of useless similar material in its database. Keep it out of the slums, by using high quality terminology
  3. use better words in the prompt/textbox — such as specify, list, delineate, order, describe, explain, rather than tell me, provide advice, or help me, because it helps give ChatGPT better focus
  4. choose some parameters of your query — such as specific issues, topics, or problems
  5. understand your question and what you want to know  —  think about the results you want more deeply and write down what the answer will help you do. ChatGPT might perform better if you give it the why
  6. keep refining your question — after seeing what ChatGPT is missing in each iteration (each answer provides things you didn’t realize and things you can see are missing)
  7. ask questions on specific parts of your big question — break it up into pieces so ChatGPT can dig down on a specific element
  8. ask it to elaborate on or finish its earlier response — in order to carry on the conversation and get the full answer
  9. use ChatGPT’s answers to formulate your next question — to help it expand or clarify items mentioned
  10. rewrite or rephrase your question — until you zone in specifically on what you really want to know and eliminate anything that might be creating a poor response
  11. avoid ambiguity and don’t ask open ended questions — provide a context for it as a frame of reference — it needs that closed framework to focus in what’s important and make it useful for you
  12. click the try again button if it is presented — and let ChatGPT rephrase the question for you
  13. offer ChatGPT a goal you want to achieve — help it understand where you’re going with the question
  14. ask the question with a process: who, what, which, where, when, to help it find why

ChatGPT advised me via a critique of a blog post, to be more neutral, concise and consistent which might work academically.  However in an marketing environment, an author is expected to be all in on an idea or project and show commit to a side of an issue. So that’s not great advice!

Still, ChatGPT might be a great tool to determine why audiences don’t like your website content and why Google’s system doesn’t rank your pages well on Google.

OpenAI suggests that ChatGPT can learn from the interaction with users. For most of us, the conversation with it is a mystery.  Courses on using ChatGPT better will of course abound, because we have to learn to use it.

And ChatGPT is being used by content creators to make money online. Of course this takes it to a new level.

Google’s not coming up with an alternative of this quality so it looks like ChatGPT will expand. It has what you might call a market leader brand positioning advantage now. Consumers associate generative AI with ChatGPT, and Google will struggle to take it away from OpenAI and Microsoft. However, Microsoft will have to act fast to avoid the counter response from Google.

Bookmark this post now for updates and deep exploration of powerful features of ChatGPT-4.

Find out more about the stock market forecast for 2023 and about the author Gord Collins.

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