The advent of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) -- tools such as ChatGPT and Bard -- is getting a lot of buzz, and it should. Ezra Klein puts it pithily: This Changes Everything. This is not hyperbole. Like so many people who are talking about it and trying to imagine what this new world will look like, we at Memria have been thinking about what this means for storysharing. With all of its weirdness and the very real dangers that it poses, Generative AI might also represent an opportunity. The value of authentic personal experience --the real experiences of real people, narrated by people in their own voices --will be more important than ever.
Generative AI relies on content that is on the internet. It follows that by increasing content in a certain area, we might be able to influence the responses generated by an AI algorithm. So I asked ChatGPT4 this question: “If I wanted to influence the way ChatGPT responds to queries, hypothetically, could I launch a campaign to increase content about a certain subject area?” I was thinking, for example, about highly specific searches, and I was wondering whether generating new personal stories could influence the response.
ChatGPT’s answer was: “Hypothetically, if you were to increase the amount of content available on the internet about a certain subject area, it could have an impact on how ChatGPT responds to queries related to that subject. However, it's important to note that influencing the model's responses would not be a straightforward process”. It continued: “GPT models are trained on vast amounts of data, so a significant increase in content related to a specific subject would be required to have a noticeable impact on the model's responses”.
This left me pondering. For example, as we approach the nation’s semiquincentennial in 2026, how might a new influx of thousands of personal stories narrated by and about a particular group of people, say, coal miners in West Virginia, or Trans sex workers in the 1980s in the Meatpacking District of New York City change the responses on those topics that ChatGPT generates? I don’t know the answer, and welcome any thoughts about this idea: email@example.com.