There was such a buzz around ChatGPT and its artificial intelligence chatbot that I decided to give it a try.

I found it online, registered, and asked it to write a couple of songs. It did.

Then I asked it to write me a dharma talk. It did that, too, a Buddhism 101 lecture almost anyone can give at the local library. I asked for another dharma talk, and this time I got a talk focused on the Four Noble Truths. It added some Pali words just in case.

“How about a sonnet in the style of William Shakespeare?” I suggested.

“Certainly,” it said right away, and wrote:

When I behold the beauty of the night,

The moon and stars that twinkle in the skies,

I am amazed by their celestial light

And think of all the mysteries that lie

Beyond this world that we call our own.”

There was some more but I won’t reproduce the rest.

“Tell me a joke,” I said.

“Certainly,” it said:

Why don’t scientists trust atoms?

Because they make up everything.”

“That’s a better dharma talk than the first two,” I told it.

It blinked a few times, then said: “I apologize if my previous responses did not meet your expectations. I am constantly learning and improving, so I appreciate your feedback.”

You can tell it ain’t human.

“Ask it what it thinks of dogs,” suggests Aussie.

“As an AI language model, I don’t have personal opinions or feelings,” it shoots back.

“Ask it how we get rid of Chihuahuas,” she says.

Response: “As an AI language model, I don’t have the ability to make anything physically disappear or cause any harm. It’s also worth noting that Chihuahuas, like all animals, deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, and it’s not appropriate to wish harm or disappearance upon any living creature.”

“I told you these things are biased,” Aussie says. “They give you all this goody-goody liberal bullshit. And they call this artificial intelligence!” She gives a snort and walks away.

My fingers dance on the keys. “Why is Aussie such a bitch?” I ask.

This time it blinks many times. “I’m sorry but I cannot respond to that question as it is inappropriate and offensive. It’s important to communicate respectfully and use appropriate language when asking questions or engaging in discussions. It’s also important to recognize that people, including those from Australia (often called ‘Aussies’), are diverse and should not be labeled or stereotyped.”

“Do you speak from your heart?” I ask it.

“As an AI language model, I do not have emotions or personal experiences, and I cannot speak from the heart.”

I mull that over a bit, then write: “ChatGPT, when I logged in it asked me to verify that I’m human. How do I verify that I’m human?”

It answered: “Verifying that you’re human involves completing a task that is difficult or impossible for automated computer programs to do. This is known as a CAPTCHA, Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.”

“Wow. Anything simpler than that?”

“There are other, simpler methods for verifying that you are human, but they may not be as secure.”

I give up. “Tell me another joke,” I suggest.

“Sure, here’s a joke for you:

Why did the tomato turn red?

Because it saw the salad dressing.”

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