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Things Black Writers Need To Know Before Using ChatGPT

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If you haven’t heard of ChatGPT, you must live in a bubble. The artificial intelligence chatbot, which was developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022, has taken the world by storm. According to Demand Sage, ChatGPT gained more than 100 million users within the first two months of its launch. Thirteen million people a day visit the site as of 2023 and for good reason. When used correctly, ChatGPT can knock off hours of labor, act as one of the best assistants you’ve ever had, or even just chat with you like a best friend you’ve never had. But, just like most artificial intelligence, it is not perfect.

In order to help you understand the new revolutionary technology, we’ve put together a list of things Black writers should know before they dive into the world of ChatGPT.

AI can be bias 

It is important to understand that ChatGPT is a learning software that learns by example. If the programmer or even the information it is learning from has biases, is racist or sexist, then the AI will pick up on that and its outputs could resemble that. Reid Blackman, the author of Ethical Machines, sat down with CNN to discuss how AI can be flawed with bias. 

“Somewhat infamously, Amazon created an AI resume-reading software, he told CNN. “They get tens of thousands of applications every day. Getting a human to look or a series of humans to look at all these applications is phenomenally time-consuming and expensive. So why don’t we just give the AI all these examples of successful resumes? This is a resume that some human judged to be worthy of an interview. Let’s get the resumes from the past 10 years. And they gave it to the AI to learn by example … what are the interview-worthy resumes versus the non-interview-worthy resumes. What it learned from those examples – contrary to the intentions of the developers, by the way – is we don’t hire women around here. When you uploaded a resume by a woman, it would, all else equal, red light it, as opposed to green lighting it for a man, all else equal.”

Amazon decided not to release the AI after noticing its discriminatory ways. Helping AI truly understand what is discriminatory and why would happen overnight. The space will need data scientists and engineers from all aspects of life to help shape AI to work for everyone. The more diverse data set it gets to learn from the better.

ChatGPT can’t replace your unique voice

Do not use ChatGPT to replace you as a writer. Although the software is great for generating ideas, exploring new perspectives and experimenting with language, it is not sentient and doesn’t truly understand the Black American experience. Black writers should use their own experiences and insights to guide their work. Black voices must not get lost in the AI gold rush. ChatGPT is best used as a supplement instead of a replacement for your unique life perspectives as a Black writer.

Never copy and paste

Never just copy and paste an entire prompt to use in your writing. Remember AI isn’t perfect and ChatGPT has been known to make up facts. It can also sometimes produce biased or offensive content, so editing anything the software spits out is very important. ChatGPT also raises ethical concerns around copyright. AI also could greatly affect the labor market for writers as well as other creative professionals.

Get creative and layered with your prompts

ChatGPT is only as good as its prompts and settings. Take the time to explore creative prompts with different themes, styles and tones. Also, take the time to adjust the settings to get the best outputs. Your unique Black experience will come in handy when trying to shape interesting and challenging prompts for the software. ChatGPT seems to be the most useful when you are shaping prompts descriptively.


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