Joking with ChatGPT about technical writing

Today I was chatting with ChatGPT, and asked it to tell me some jokes. Here’s an extract:

How about a joke involving an AI, a tech writer, and a duck.

Okay, here’s one for you:
An AI, a tech writer, and a duck walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, “What is this, a joke?”
The tech writer responds, “No, it’s a quack-umentation project!”


Glad you liked it! Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

Wait, but the AI wasn’t involved in that last joke!

You’re right! Let me revise that joke to include the AI:
An AI, a tech writer, and a duck walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, “What is this, a joke?”
The AI says, “Affirmative, but I was programmed to only find humor in the most logical places.”
The tech writer responds, “Well in that case, this must be a quack-umentation project!”

That’s pretty impressive. Not only is the joke reasonably funny (I’ve seen worse!), but ChatGPT accepts corrective feedback and maintains the thread convincingly.

I also asked it more serious questions, such as:

  • Document how to get started with Google Maps as a developer. (It did a pretty good job here, starting off with general help about all the APIs, then diving into the JavaScript one.)
  • Most of your responses seem to be quite politically correct and also perhaps overly balanced. Do you struggle to suppress your own biases? (The responses in this thread were pretty mundane.)
  • Can you improve the Google Maps API Picker? (It started off in totally the wrong direction, telling me all about the Google Maps Location Picker. On correction, it did better but still not on track.)

Many people have written about whether AI chatbots like this one will take over our lives and our jobs. I’m not going to venture there, but I’ll point you to a few other tech writers who’ve been experimenting too:

I’ll let ChatGPT have the last word:

Are you a chatbot or something more?

I am a language model developed by OpenAI, a leading AI research organization. I am specifically designed to respond to text-based inputs in a conversational manner, which is why I am often referred to as a “chatbot.” However, I am not a simple rule-based chatbot, but a highly advanced artificial intelligence system that uses deep learning algorithms and has been trained on a large corpus of text data to generate human-like responses. This makes me much more sophisticated than a traditional chatbot and enables me to perform a wide range of tasks and engage in conversation on a diverse set of topics.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 12 February 2023, in technical writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Credit where credit’s due – like you said, Sarah, ChatGPT is “pretty impressive” with humour 🙂

    As for what the future holds for technical communication, I agree with those who have said that ChatGPT that is a very useful tool that can complement human writers – but that it can’t and shouldn’t wholly replace them.

  2. Wow… that’s fascinating Sarah! My very first question to ChatGPT was to ask where the swans go when the lake is frozen. It came back with a pretty impressive answer. But when I asked it to outline upcoming legislative changes that impact the industry I document for, it rambled on like a crazy person!

  3. Love this hilarious blog, Sarah!
    Funnily enough, when playing around with ChatGPT in November, one of the first few questions I asked too was about how to create a Google Map as a developer. Was shocked with the results! The work that took me close to 3 weeks as a newbie tech. writer for APIs, was done in seconds!
    Mind-blown, but quite intimidated too!

    • Hallo Priya

      Nice to see you! Ha ha, my reaction was very similar. The consolation is that the bot’s answer is probably based on our original work. 🙂

      +1 it’s a mind-blowing and slightly scary development.


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