Axios Finish Line

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Welcome back! Smart Brevity™ count: 332 words ... 1 min.

1 big thing: The cool, scary power of AI

Illustration of robot hands holding a clipboard.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

We didn't believe this until we tried it:

  • ChatGPT, a new chatbot from the tech company OpenAI, shows just how far artificial intelligence has come.
  • Give the software a prompt — and it spits out articles and poems that sound scarily human.

Why it matters: ChatGPT shows AI's power and fun. But it could make life difficult as teachers and bosses try to figure out who really did the work — and all of society struggles even harder to discern truth from fiction, reports Axios chief tech correspondent Ina Fried.

  • "[I]t’s possible that OpenAI invented history’s most convincing, knowledgeable and dangerous liar — a superhuman fiction machine that could be used to influence masses or alter history," writes Ars Technica AI reporter Benj Edwards.

Matt Lira, a former White House and congressional adviser on innovation policy, helped us test the chatbot.

  • "It feels like what it must have been like to use a graphical user interface for the first time — a new world on the horizon," Lira says.

Lira gave the robot this prompt: "Write a poem about Axios."

  • That's it. Here's what came back:

Then he told it: "Write a poem about Axios in the style of William Shakespeare." Voilà:

How to try it: You can use the chatbot for free. Create an account on OpenAI using your email — and play around. Send us your discoveries.

🎁 What's old is new

Here's another suggestion for a thoughtful holiday gift that costs nothing, from Finish Line reader Laura C.:

  • "Give something you already have. I know this may sound tacky, but if there is something of yours a friend or family member commented on that they like, give it to them."
  • "I’ve given away artwork, jewelry, books, etc. Chances are, they’ll be touched you remembered they liked it. It has the added benefit of helping me downsize, and a reminder to not be so attached to stuff."

Today's newsletter was copy edited by Patricia Guadalupe.