Events by ChatGPT: Notes From an AI-Generated Webinar

Three takeaways from a recent online event written and designed by generative AI that was intriguing, but ultimately underwhelming.

By: Nicole Reed

ChatGPT, Google’s Bard or IBM’s Watson–regardless of the name or iteration, we are being bombarded by artificial intelligence, and its transformative power, on a seemingly hourly basis. If you are in the content-producing industry, the barrage may seem even more frequent. Writers, editors, video engineers, musicians, artists and so many more are having to justify the human quality of their chosen professions. 

With that in mind, I recently registered for a webinar about infusing events with different types of technology. The webinar was described as being written, designed and marketed by ChatGPT. Cvent billed ChatGPT as the guest star—the AI was literally presented as the guest speaker, as well as the primary force behind designing and marketing the event. Color me interested. Take my personal information. Send me a login code. 

My interest quickly waned, however, once the event started. Here are my three takeaways from that webinar and the reasons why I know that AI will not fully replace writers and editors any time soon. I also asked ChatGPT to address some of my assertions, and its answers may surprise you.

AI is not as ‘limitless’ as developers want us to believe.

The most recent writers’ strike in Hollywood was, in part, due to the proliferation of AI-produced content and how its use may impact human writers. (There is a phrase I never dreamed of writing when I entered journalism 20-odd years ago.) I understand the writers’ concern, but if this webinar is any indication, ChatGPT just doesn’t have the innate creativity that is necessary for mass entertainment or even substantial knowledge transfer. 

Cvent’s seminar, titled “Guide to Innovative Event Tech with Guest ChatGPT,” covered such things as how to use technology in a tailored setting: holograms to address participant questions, virtual reality for product demonstrations or immersive technology to transform event spaces for the event. 

All of these things were theoretically informative and helpful, but during the webinar, ChatGPT was relegated to providing the dos and don’ts of using technology when event planning. Inevitably, the same list was repeated: do use technology in moderation and don’t use it when it is inappropriate. I learned nothing new from the guest speaker ChatGPT, nor did I find any valuable takeaways that I couldn’t have found in any number of other resources in the past five years. 

ChatGPT pulls its answers from, among other places, the internet; of course, being connected to the internet does not guarantee accuracy, as anyone who has a grandparent with access to a computer can attest. For every genuine and peer-reviewed piece of information on the internet, there are hundreds of other satirical or intentionally misleading pages. AI cannot currently tell the difference between those. So, if you are looking for relevant, factual and up-to-date information, ChatGPT will fail you every time. And just as an internet connection doesn’t guarantee you the truth from a chatbot, it also doesn’t assure the creation of interesting content. 

AI’s limitless potential may, in fact, have limits that even the program acknowledges. 

Here was my prompted question to ChatGPT on this topic.

Volt: Is AI as limitless as developers want us to believe?

ChatGPT: AI is not limitless, as some developers may portray it to be. While AI has made remarkable advancements in various domains, it still has inherent limitations and challenges that prevent it from being truly limitless. Here are a few reasons why AI is not as limitless as some developers might suggest.

Data limitations: AI models rely on large datasets for training. If the available data is insufficient or of poor quality, the AI model’s performance can be negatively affected. Generating high-quality and diverse datasets for comprehensive training remains a challenge.

Contextual understanding: AI models often struggle to grasp the nuances and context of human language. While they can generate coherent responses based on patterns in the training data, they lack genuine understanding of the underlying meaning. This limitation affects their ability to engage in complex conversations or fully comprehend the world.

Creativity and originality: AI models excel at generating text based on existing patterns, but they struggle to exhibit true creativity or produce entirely original ideas. They are limited to the knowledge and information they have been trained on and cannot independently generate new concepts beyond their training data.

Ethical considerations: The development and deployment of AI systems raise ethical concerns. Issues such as privacy, security, fairness, and bias need to be carefully addressed to ensure responsible and equitable use of AI. These considerations impose limitations on how AI can be employed in certain contexts.

Domain-specific expertise: AI models trained in specific domains can perform exceptionally well within their designated areas. However, applying the same AI model to tasks outside of its specific domain may result in subpar performance. The lack of generalized intelligence restricts the capabilities of AI models.

It is important to have realistic expectations about AI and understand its limitations. While AI has demonstrated great potential in automating tasks, assisting with decision-making, and augmenting human capabilities, it is not an all-knowing, all-powerful technology. Acknowledging these limitations is crucial for responsible and informed use of AI.

The big takeaway here is that AI is not as adaptive, creative and intuitive as human creators are—at least not yet. The limitations are still significant enough that we should avoid chucking content creators out in favor of the newest technological advancement. Use AI as you would any tool, as an aid for those on your team who have proven time and time again that they have the knowledge and experience to create insightful and meaningful content.

AI is great for generating interest, but it can’t sustain it … yet.

The one thing the webinar’s guest star was good at was providing enough interest to acquire leads and engage with potential users. This is not surprising, as digital publications have been using algorithms to generate headlines for quite some time. Regardless of my other takeaways, ChatGPT succeeded in its purpose for the webinar: it successfully marketed an event for its designers. 

I was intrigued by a program developed by an AI, and I used my personal information to register. I have since received four phone calls and at least five emails from the company (and counting), proving that the mere mention of AI resulted in a genuine lead. 

Had the webinar provided me with effective and useful tools for Volt to use in the future, I may have stayed an engaged lead. Unfortunately, the webinar did not provide me with relevant information for my role and institution, proving that novelty only works once. You have to provide people with genuinely helpful and tailored content for the user, reader or attendee—which I reassert can only be produced through human creativity and intuition—to keep leads engaged.

I promised to be fair, so here is ChatGPT’s rebuttal to my assertion that the algorithm can generate but not sustain interest.

Volt: Can AI develop content that pushes knowledge and conversation forward?

ChatGPT: Yes, AI has the potential to develop content that pushes knowledge and conversation forward. AI algorithms can process vast amounts of information, analyze patterns, and generate insights that can contribute to the advancement of knowledge in various fields. Here’s how AI can facilitate knowledge and conversation.

Data Analysis and Research: AI can analyze large datasets from diverse sources, helping to uncover trends, correlations, and patterns that may lead to new discoveries. By processing and synthesizing information quickly, AI can identify novel insights and generate content that expands our understanding of complex phenomena.

Natural Language Processing (NLP): AI-powered NLP techniques enable machines to understand and generate human language. AI models, such as language models and chatbots, can contribute to conversations by generating responses, answering questions, and providing information. They can also facilitate knowledge sharing by summarizing articles, extracting key points, and presenting information in a concise and accessible manner.

Content Curation and Recommendation: AI algorithms can curate and recommend content that promotes intellectual growth and diverse perspectives. By analyzing user preferences, behavior, and content consumption patterns, AI can suggest relevant and thought-provoking articles, research papers, or discussions that push the boundaries of knowledge and foster meaningful conversations.

Collaboration and Idea Generation: AI can facilitate collaboration among researchers, experts, and communities by providing tools for brainstorming, idea generation, and problem-solving. For example, AI-powered platforms can analyze and organize research papers, identify knowledge gaps, and suggest potential research directions, stimulating innovation and advancing conversations in academic and scientific communities.

Automated Fact-Checking: AI can contribute to the dissemination of accurate information and combat misinformation. By analyzing large amounts of data and comparing claims against trusted sources, AI algorithms can automate fact-checking processes, identifying false or misleading information. This helps to promote evidence-based discussions and ensure that conversations are grounded in reliable knowledge.

While AI can assist in pushing knowledge and conversation forward, it’s important to recognize that AI should be used as a tool in conjunction with human judgment and expertise. Human oversight is crucial to ensure that AI-generated content aligns with ethical standards, avoids biases, and maintains the integrity of the knowledge-sharing process.

When I initially used the above prompt, I forgot to add the question mark. A simple mistake that drastically changed the response. That first, incorrectly punctuated sentence generated a response that included the phrase “Brace yourself for the AI-powered clickbait revolution – it’s here to stay!” Interestingly, ChatGPT was correct, even if my meaning was not clear; we do need to brace ourselves for an onslaught of AI-generated content that will seem interesting at first glance but prove unsubstantial after a thorough analysis. 

AI can be trained over many days, weeks and months to provide more relevant content, but by the time you are done training the system, you could have just written it yourself. Of course, in terms of employee longevity, AI will not move on to other opportunities after you have invested that valuable training time. Take that as you will. 

It takes time and effort to hone the ChatGPT program, as well as the other incarnations of generative AI available, to provide content that goes beyond the current conversation and moves things forward. Whether or not individuals, institutions and businesses will put in that effort remains to be seen. 

Modern AI shouldn’t sound like a B-rated sci-fi robot.

Even though the Cvent webinar had information relevant to event planners, I had trouble focusing on it because I was distracted by the artificial voice the presenters chose for their guest star. 

ChatGPT’s synthesized voice was straight out of a B-rated sci-fi flick of the 1950s. I kept expecting Will Robinson to pop out of an air hatch–yes, I know, I just dated myself. Knowing that the presenters chose this voice to represent the AI media darling made it all the more distracting. 

I realize Cvent wanted to have fun during the presentation, but I think this choice undermined their ability to come across as authorities on the subject. Ironically, the presenters had a “don’t” in their presentation that directly addressed this issue: don’t use technology if it distracts from the event’s purpose. 

As any good reporter should do, I went to the source and asked ChatGPT how it felt about being saddled with a synthesized robotic voice. Here is its answer.

ChatGPT: I understand your perspective. As an AI language model, my purpose is to assist and engage in meaningful conversations with users. While it’s true that the portrayal of AI in B-rated sci-fi movies often includes robotic voices or exaggerated characteristics, it’s not a requirement for AI to sound that way in real life.

In fact, AI systems like mine can be designed to have more natural and human-like conversational abilities. The goal is to make interactions between humans and AI as seamless and comfortable as possible. This includes using language that is easy to understand and mimicking the nuances of human speech.

By focusing on improving natural language processing and generation, AI technologies strive to make conversations feel more like interacting with a knowledgeable and helpful human, rather than a robotic entity. However, it’s important to note that different AI systems can be designed with varying degrees of human-likeness, depending on their specific purpose and context of use.

Ultimately, the aim is to strike a balance between effective communication and avoiding any unintended negative associations with sci-fi stereotypes.

In ChatGPT’s own words, love it or hate it, artificial intelligence is here to stay. How we, as creators and users of content, implement this technology will determine its effectiveness and its relevance. Speaking for Volt—without a synthesized, robotic voice—we will continue to showcase human creativity provided by human professionals who are dedicated to all things higher ed.

In its current form, AI is perfect for generating ideas and starting points for knowledgeable professionals. We believe that artificial intelligence is a wonderful tool, but it may never be a substitute for human intelligence and experience.

Editor’s Note: We reached out to Cvent to clarify aspects of the event and confirm the version of ChatGPT used during the webinar; however, we did not receive a response to our inquiries. 

Nicole Reed

Nicole Reed

Senior Editor

Nicole has written, ghostwritten and edited for numerous publications during the last two decades. When she isn’t holding a red pen or reading a book, she can be found catering to her mastiffs’ daily demands for snuggles. She has even been known to multitask and do all three activities at once.

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