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March 6, 2023

After watching this John Oliver segment on artificial intelligence last week, I decided it would be interesting to ask ChatGPT to write an essay about me.

Got around to it yesterday: “Please write a 500 word essay about the writer/playwright Anne M. Holmes.”

Anne M. Holmes was a prolific writer and playwright known for her sharp wit, insightful observations, and compelling characters. Born in the United States, Holmes grew up in a household that valued education and literature, which undoubtedly contributed to her passion for writing. She attended college in the 1970s, earning a degree in English literature, and went on to work in a variety of writing-related fields, including journalism, advertising, and public relations. It wasn’t until the 1990s, however, that she turned her attention to playwriting, a decision that would prove to be a turning point in her career.

Holmes’ plays are known for their strong female characters and their exploration of contemporary issues related to gender, sexuality, and identity. Her writing is characterized by a keen understanding of human behavior and psychology, and her plays often challenge audiences to confront their own biases and preconceptions. One of her most famous plays, The Women’s Room, was adapted from the novel of the same name by Marilyn French and explores the lives of a group of women in the 1950s and 1960s as they struggle to find fulfillment and meaning in a world dominated by men.

Another notable work by Holmes is The Conversion of Ka’ahumanu, which tells the story of the titular queen of Hawaii and her decision to convert to Christianity in the early 19th century. The play explores the complex intersections of religion, culture, and power, and offers a nuanced portrait of a woman who defied convention and tradition in order to pursue her own path.

In addition to her plays, Holmes was also a prolific writer of essays, articles, and short stories. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and has been recognized with numerous awards and honors. In 2010, she was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant,” in recognition of her contributions to the field of playwriting.

Despite her success, Holmes remained humble and dedicated to her craft throughout her career. She was known for her generosity and kindness, and mentored many young writers and aspiring playwrights throughout her life. She was also a vocal advocate for the arts and for the importance of storytelling in building empathy and understanding between people of different backgrounds and experiences.

Anne M. Holmes passed away in 2013, leaving behind a legacy of powerful, thought-provoking works that continue to resonate with audiences today. Her writing is a testament to the power of storytelling to illuminate the complexities of the human experience, and to inspire compassion, empathy, and understanding. As we continue to grapple with the challenges of our own time, her work serves as a reminder of the importance of confronting difficult issues with courage and honesty, and of the vital role that writers and artists play in shaping our understanding of the world around us.”

Holy fuck. This is Total Bull Shit. (It’s also not 500 words.) 

Oh, wait a sec. I did work as a journalist for a number of years and I did work, very briefly, in advertising. Two (no doubt accidentally) true things in a sea of utter bull shit. 

I’d assumed, at a minimum, that ChatGPT would find my blog and throw in at least some of the brief home page bio. Perhaps some mention of my actual novels or plays? Nope. Lazy bastard.

Not just completely made-up bull shit, but also some bull shit appropriation. 

A quick Google check reveals that The Conversion of Ka’ahumanu was written by Hawaiian playwright Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl. Wow.

A friend also asked ChatGPT to write an essay about him yesterday. His was also total bull shit, including made-up awards and fictitious relationships with real people. At least he didn’t die in 2013.

From → Columns

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