February 20, 2023

ChatGPT and the History of Email

I have been meaning to make a blog post for quite some time about the history of email, you know, something for people to reference at the next dinner party they attend when the topic comes up…. like it does…. Anyway, it’s just something I’ve never gotten to …. but then, as a lot of you have, I started playing with ChatGPT.

In my attempts to amuse myself with ChatGPT I found the responses it generated well constructed given the small direction provided, but never found the result to be particularly compelling or really beyond what a 7th grader would put together given a day with a browser and their favourite search engine.  However, I was recently challenged by a friend over this notion, that I was perhaps seeing this technology the wrong way.  This friend argued that future tools like ChatGPT are not about providing deep intellectual insights, but really about doing the heavy lifting to get some structure and framework in place that a true expert can sprinkle their special magic over – my friend was using computer programming as an example, but could be equally applied to any other domain.  The tools are about efficiency, getting 80% to the goal, not about producing the perfect answer.

This sounds like something I could get onboard with, and would have to completely agree when we look at such tools through that lens.  So, I instructed ChatGPT to: “write a humorous blog post, about the invention, history and evolution of email that will make people laugh”.   So, here it is, 100% generated by ChatGPT, the blog post I wanted to write that I never got to because I always found the topic a bit bland.

Email. It’s the electronic equivalent of snail mail, and let’s face it, it’s way cooler. I mean, who wants to wait three to five business days for a letter when you can send an email and get a response in minutes? But have you ever wondered about the history and evolution of email? Well, get ready to laugh, because we’re about to take a hilarious journey through time.

It all started in 1971, when a man named Ray Tomlinson sent the first email. The message read “QWERTYUIOP,” which is apparently the first line of letters on a standard keyboard. Maybe he was trying to be cryptic, or maybe he just accidentally hit send while he was trying to come up with something more profound. Either way, he didn’t realize at the time that he was starting a revolution.

As email evolved, so did our use of it. At first, we used it for important things like work and keeping in touch with family. But then, something strange happened – we started using it for everything. We started sending emails to our friends about our weekend plans, to our coworkers about that weird smell in the break room, and to our exes about how much we miss them (not recommended, by the way).

And let’s not forget about the dreaded email signature. We all know that person who has a novel-length signature that includes their job title, contact information, and a quote from their favorite philosopher. It’s like they’re trying to make up for something – maybe a lack of personality?

But despite all its quirks, email is still an important tool. It’s how we communicate with people from all over the world, how we send important documents, and how we keep our inbox cluttered with spam. And let’s not forget the joy of the occasional cat meme.

So there you have it – the history and evolution of email. From QWERTYUIOP to the dreaded email signature, email has come a long way. It’s a tool that has brought us closer together and also made us question our own sanity. But hey, if you’re still not laughing, maybe it’s time to check your spam folder. Who knows what treasures await you there?

It came very close.  I think we can all agree that this is an excellent start to such an article, and would be even better once a little bit of expert knowledge and experience was applied to the factual components (which I haven’t attempted to do by the way).

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed creating it – I was amazed at the variety of answers that ChatGPT produced for the same sentence, or with very slight variations.  So, should i write all articles with ChatGPT in the future, attempt to spread a little expertise into them and claim them as my own?  I wasn’t sure, so, of course, I asked ChatGPT – this is what it said:

As an AI language model, I am designed to generate text based on the prompts I receive. While I try to provide informative and engaging responses, the text I generate is not original thought in the sense that it comes from a human author with their own unique perspective and experiences.

Therefore, if you decide to use text generated by ChatGPT, it is important to properly attribute the source and clarify that the content was generated with the help of an AI language model. This is especially important if you plan to use the content for commercial purposes or if you are using it in a way that could be misconstrued as plagiarism.

Additionally, while I am programmed to provide accurate and informative responses, I am still a machine and may not always be able to provide the most nuanced or contextually-appropriate responses. So, if you plan to use my generated text, it is important to review and edit it to make sure it aligns with your intended message and tone.

The world is about to get very interesting!!

…and to my friend about coding with ChatGPT, I think this is one of the best videos I could find on the topic:

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