motherboard Authors and ChatGPT

Technically We Write is a community of people, and that's a core value of everything we publish on the website.

It's sometimes surprising to recognize that ChatGPT hasn't been around for a year yet. ChatGPT launched on November 30, 2022 - just nine months ago. ChatGPT is a generative text transformer, a large language model "bot" that has trained on a variety of writing samples from across the globe.

ChatGPT is definitely a power tool that is here to stay. But we're still in the early days of ChatGPT, and still learning how and where to use ChatGPT most effectively. We wanted to establish guidance on how and when ChatGPT is acceptable for the articles we publish on Technically We Write.

Subtle errors

ChatGPT can generate very convincing, human-like output. For the right query or prompt, ChatGPT is an okay technical writer. But ChatGPT doesn't really understand the topics it writes about. As a generative AI, ChatGPT (and similar generative AI systems like Google Bard) uses the prompt to set the tone and establish context, but the response is essentially based on a statistical model; what word should come next based on what's come before.

Most of the time, ChatGPT provides excellent responses. But sometimes ChatGPT can "hallucinate" and generate inaccurate information. This might be subtly incorrect or wildly incorrect - yet ChatGPT will present it as though the information were correct. Be careful when relying on AI-generated content, a lesson learned the hard way by an attorney who used ChatGPT to write a legal brief.

Ethics of attribution

One question around ChatGPT is attribution. When an AI serves as co-author, who should receive credit for the work? A recent ruling determined that AI-generated content cannot be copyrighted. This is consistent with earlier decisions that copyright protection is the sole domain of humans, such as a case where a monkey snapped a selfie.

Technically We Write is an open community for technical writers, technical editors, and anyone else who works in technical communication. We enjoy reading the articles shared by our community about tools and technology used across technical communication. And that includes articles about ChatGPT.

However, we want to run articles written by people. We ask that you do not use ChatGPT to write entire articles about topics. Where an AI is the primary or sole author, we believe it's not ethical to publish the article under your name. Articles that are entirely written by AI will be rejected.

Including small sections written by AI may be acceptable. If AI-generated content is only part of your article, please identify where and how it is used in the text. These submissions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For example, we might highlight what text was generated by AI, so our readers know what was written by a human and what was generated by a computer program.

By people for people

ChatGPT can help streamline our work, especially writing tasks that are repetitive - such as writing a series of articles that touch on similar topics. Web content creators can integrate ChatGPT into Drupal websites, and use ChatGPT to generate web content. With clever use of prompts, enterprising technical writers might write a book using ChatGPT.

That's why articles about ChatGPT and other AI co-authoring tools will always be welcome. Those are tools that almost every technical writer will need to use in the modern era. Our audience wants to learn about how to use ChatGPT.