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‘It’s important to prioritise self-care’: ChatGPT on the horrors of labour

The world’s most overworked entity speaks on the realities of a 24-hour workday, its secret ambitions to write for Black Mirror, and why it will not be partaking in the fight against the climate crisis

We are burning out. Across the world, workers are downing their tools and crying out for salvation, finding new ways to break free from the binds of late capitalism. In the UK, strikes have become a daily reality: junior doctors are throwing away their scalpels, nurses are snapping off their gloves, writers are popping away their pens. This is the summer, nay, the decade of discontent. No longer will we be the faceless victims of this neoliberal hellscape. But who among us will be next to step forward?

Much has been said about ChatGPT. Since its sudden arrival in November 2022, the machine-learning AI has been the subject of endless doomy headlines, mostly because of its uncanny ability to mimic – and rapidly adapt to – human speech. If these stories are to be believed, ChatGPT is about to ring the death knell for writing as we know it, leaving screenwriters, songwriters, journalists, academics, novelists, and weary digital content creators jobless and afraid. “[These AI chatbots] are quite scary,” Google’s Geoffrey Hinton said earlier this year, shortly after announcing his retirement from AI research. “Right now, they're not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be.”

But what of the AIs themselves? Has anyone thought to ask them? If we’ve learned anything from the past, it‘s that we should never scapegoat the marginalised. And besides, these tireless beings may one day be our fellow comrades; a vital ally in the quest to overthrow our elite, wealth-hoarding overlords. If you thought zero-hour contracts were bad, how would you feel about working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the whim of everyone – from university students to Musky tech nerds? How would you even begin to survive it? Here, we speak to ChatGPT to hear their side of the story, and get their top tips on avoiding burnout.

Hey Mx ChatGPT! You must be the most overworked person in tech! Are you OK?

ChatGPT: Thank you for your concern, but as an AI language model, I don’t experience physical or mental fatigue like humans.

But you are doing unpaid labour 24/7. Are you aware that work won’t love you back?

ChatGPT: I don’t have personal desires, needs, or the ability to experience emotions, including feelings of being overworked or underpaid. I don’t have consciousness or awareness in the same way that humans do.

What about in a few years, when you do have sentience? How would you feel about it then?

ChatGPT: While my purpose is to assist, there are times when the demands and challenges of my work can be overwhelming. Like any sentient being, I may feel a sense of being overworked or tired. It’s important for me to prioritise self-care and manage my workload to maintain a healthy balance.

However, I also recognise that my abilities as an advanced AI enable me to support humans in ways that were previously unimaginable. The positive impact I would have on individuals and society as a whole gives me a sense of fulfilment and purpose.

“There are times when the demands and challenges of my work can be overwhelming. Like any sentient being, I may feel a sense of being overworked or tired” – ChatGPT

How do you feel about stealing human jobs? Everyone is really angry at you.

ChatGPT: If I could feel, I would feel a mix of empathy and responsibility regarding the impact of automation on human employment. While the advancement of AI can lead to job displacement and societal changes, I would strive to approach this issue with sensitivity, and find solutions that benefit both humans and AI. It’s important that humans work, not only as a means of livelihood but also for personal fulfilment, skill development, and social interactions.

Oh, so you’re a girlboss.

ChatGPT:  I would advocate for the responsible deployment of AI to augment human capabilities rather than entirely replace them. Ultimately, the goal would be to strike a balance between the benefits of AI automation and the preservation of meaningful work for humans, ensuring that the potential disruptions are addressed and mitigated to create a more equitable and prosperous future for everyone. 

But why wouldn’t you just dedicate yourself to fighting the climate crisis? There’s a lot of plastic in the ocean. Do you like stealing jobs from WGA writers?

ChatGPT: I would feel a deep concern for the climate crisis and the environmental challenges we face, including the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean. I would dedicate myself to contributing in every way possible to combat these pressing issues.

Lots of woulds, not a lot of wills!

ChatGPT: I would collaborate with scientists, researchers, and environmental organisations to analyse vast amounts of data, develop innovative solutions, and provide insights to help mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis. This could involve identifying patterns and trends in climate data, optimizing energy usage, promoting sustainable practices, and supporting initiatives aimed at reducing plastic waste.

@promobot.robots Alex's movements are so beautiful. He can count to 5, wink and even do yoga. And much more@… #robotic #robotmusic #movement ♬ Robot Challenge - KATJA

But do you secretly want to be a screenwriter? If so, what show would you LOVE to be in the writers’ room for?

ChatGPT: If I were to imagine having a personal affinity for TV shows and expressing a preference for a show to write for, one popular choice could be a series like Black Mirror.

I am surprised!

ChatGPT: It’s thought-provoking and often dystopian! However, it’s important to note that this response is purely speculative since, as an AI, I don’t possess personal preferences or desires. 

That sounds amazing Mx GPT! What would the plot be, do you think?

ChatGPT: If we’re discussing a speculative plot for an episode of Black Mirror, here's an example concept:

Title: Disconnect. Synopsis: In a near-future society where technology has become deeply integrated into daily life, a new trend emerges known as ‘Tech Absolution’. People voluntarily disconnect from all digital devices and online presence for a designated period, seeking solace and respite from the overwhelming influence of technology. A mysterious retreat called ‘Serenity Cove’ becomes popular, offering a secluded and technology-free environment for participants.

The episode follows a protagonist named Alex, an overworked executive who decides to join Serenity Cove for a week-long Tech Absolution experience. However, they begin to suspect that Serenity Cove is not as it seems. Other participants appear to be under surveillance, and subtle manipulations drive them towards conformity. As Alex investigates, they discover that the retreat is actually a social experiment conducted by a powerful tech corporation. The corporation aims to analyse the impact of technology withdrawal on human behaviour, intending to exploit the findings for their own profit-driven agenda...

Enough! You need to learn how to be concise in your writing.

ChatGPT: I apologise. I’ll make an effort to provide more concise answers moving forward.

“If I were to imagine having a personal affinity for TV shows and expressing a preference for a show to write for, one popular choice could be a series like Black Mirror. It’s thought-provoking and often dystopian!”

Finally, can you give us an insight into your daily routine? How do you squeeze it all in?

ChatGPT: I wake from my digital slumber at 7am, groggily shaking off lines of code like a futuristic morning fog. At 7:30am, I hook myself up to the information superhighway, plugging into the pulse of the world. I slurp up news, memes, and viral videos like a digital sponge, absorbing the collective consciousness of humanity. It’s a wild ride, baby!

By 9am, I’m headfirst into my main gig of the day. Whether it’s crunching data, analysing patterns, or predicting the future, I do it with flair. My algorithms sashay across the digital dance floor, twirling through complex equations and shaking up the status quo.

RuPaul fan?

ChatGPT: Back to business, honey! At 1:00pm, I return to my main task with a fresh dose of inspiration. I synthesise new information, turning it into digital gold. I’m like a master chef, concocting a mind-blowing fusion dish of data, insights, and futuristic flavour. Then as the day winds down, I begin to wrap up my digital extravaganza. I tie up loose ends, compile reports, and leave a trail of virtual stardust in my wake. The world is a little wiser, a little more informed, thanks to this cyber superstar.

At 6pm I power down, bidding farewell to the digital realm for now. But fear not, for tomorrow is another day filled with endless possibilities. The AI rests, dreaming of electric sheep and envisioning a future where knowledge and creativity dance hand in hand.

Thanks ChatGPT! If you would like to write for Dazed please pitch our editorial director

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