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  • Writer's pictureWarren A. Shepherd

The Ultimate Battle of Man vs. Machine: Or, How I Survived Being Interviewed by Chat-GPT

Updated: May 30, 2023

From the moment Arnold Schwarzenneger's Terminator first uttered that ominous phrase, "I'll be back," we all feared that science fiction might one day be science fact. But I'm sure we all hoped that that day would be a long way down the road.


Well, it might be time to check the calendar. AI is learning and growing exponentially, integrating itself into so many facets of our lives; it seems we're just a hop, skip, and a nuclear explosion away from Judgement Day.


But in the meantime, I thought I may as well embrace the future and get on the Chat-GPT bandwagon - while I still can...



As an author, I'm always searching for new ways to expose my work to the world, finding it a constant uphill battle. Since I am so terrible a self-promotion, and since I'm not exactly fending off an abundance of offers from literary outlets for interviews, I thought I'd enlist the aid of my new friend, CHAT-GPT. (It's good to keep on friendly terms... you know, just so that when the day comes, I won't be judged too harshly).


Armed only with the short promotional quote from my website, and the blurb from the back cover of my book, CHAT-GPT let loose with its questions, and the results were... well, why don't you judge for yourself.

 

CHAT-GPT:

Welcome, fellow sci-fi geeks! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing an exciting author, Warren A. Shepherd, about their [I didn't stipulate my gender] rollicking sci-fi adventure novel, "Sex, Bugs & UFOs." From the blurb alone, it's clear that this book promises a thrilling journey across the galaxy and a protagonist with a compelling backstory. So, Warren, let's dive right in and explore the depths of your imaginative universe.


First off, I have to say that the premise of "Sex, Bugs & UFOs" is captivating. Abandoned by his mother at a young age, Dave Morrissey's life takes an unexpected turn as he finds himself drawn back into the world of UFO investigations. The mysterious death of an old woman in a nursing home sets off a chain of events that leads Morrissey on a desperate quest for truth, one that spans from the streets of London to the far reaches of space. The mix of conspiracy theorists, bounty hunters, and secrets hidden in Morrissey's DNA certainly sounds like a recipe for an intense and action-packed narrative.Tell me, what inspired you to blend elements of UFO investigations, intergalactic mysteries, and a reluctant hero's journey in this novel? How did you develop the idea for "Sex, Bugs & UFOs"?


Also, the title itself is quite intriguing. Could you shed some light on the significance of "Sex, Bugs & UFOs"? What themes or ideas does it convey?


I'm eager to hear your insights on the creation of this thrilling adventure!


WARREN:

Thanks, Chat. First off, the title. I wanted it to be playful, but with a hint of mystery and even a little bit of danger. Of course, it's a play on the phrase, "Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll". I hope the word sex doesn't put people off as you won't find it in the Alien Erotica section of your bookstore!


As for what inspired me, I think I've always felt like I didn't belong in the world. I was born in England and came to Canada with my family when I was 7. That sense of alienation and 'otherness' has stayed with me until today - one foot in each world, but belonging in neither. Add to that, a childhood fuelled by the original Star Trek, the birth of Star Wars, and later, the struggles of Fox Mulder on The X-Files, and you've got a pretty solid foundation for what drives the creativity behind this story.


CHAT-GPT:

Thank you for sharing the inspiration behind "Sex, Bugs & UFOs," Warren. It's fascinating to see how personal experiences and a love for sci-fi classics have influenced your creative vision for this novel. That sense of not quite belonging and feeling like an outsider can often fuel some of the most compelling narratives.


Now, let's talk about your protagonist, Dave Morrissey. He's a former UFO investigator who gets pulled back into the world he thought he had left behind. What can you tell us about Morrissey's character development throughout the story? How does his journey impact his understanding of himself and his place in the universe?


Additionally, you mentioned a shifty tabloid journalist who becomes an unexpected ally for Morrissey. What can you share about their dynamic and how it adds depth to the narrative?


I'm curious to delve into the evolution of your characters and how they navigate the intergalactic mystery at the core of your story.


WARREN:

Without giving too much away, Morrissey's reasons for joining the UFO hotline were driven by a childhood trauma. And although he is no longer with the organization at the beginning of the story, his search for truth has never faded. It's this hunger that drives him forward. As for the tabloid journalist, I can't reveal too much about his relationship to Morrissey without spoiling the surprises. You'll just have to find out for yourself!


CHAT-GPT:

Ah, the element of mystery! I understand and appreciate the need to keep certain plot details under wraps. It sounds like Morrissey's character has a deep emotional core, fueled by his past experiences and an unyielding quest for truth. Exploring the impact of childhood trauma and the resilience it can instill in a character adds layers of depth to the story.


As for the tabloid journalist, I'm intrigued by the secrecy surrounding their relationship with Morrissey. It suggests there may be unexpected alliances and complex dynamics at play, which will surely keep readers engaged and guessing.


Moving on, let's talk about the universe you've created in "Sex, Bugs & UFOs." From the grey streets of London to the vast expanse of space, what can readers expect when they embark on this intergalactic adventure with Morrissey? Are there any unique or visually stunning settings that you'd like to highlight?


Furthermore, the blurb mentions the presence of an unstable UFO conspiracy theorist, a galactic bounty hunter, and a terrorist for hire. How do these formidable adversaries challenge Morrissey and contribute to the overall tension and suspense of the story?


I'm eager to learn more about the world-building and the thrilling encounters that await readers in your novel!


WARREN:

Setting, indeed, plays a huge role in the story. I wanted the reader to really feel for Morrissey's journey. I wanted them get a sense of being ripped away from everything familiar, to be thrust into the unknown, the incomprehensible. I wanted to instil a sense of wonder and excitement and yes, fear, all at once. If I've done my job right, the reader will see the universe through Morrissey's eyes, experiencing the sensory challenges at every turn. From alien wastelands to dense cities populated by all manner of beings, the readers should (hopefully) be in for a treat! And don't even get me started on what goes on in hyperspace - to paraphrase Han Solo, it really ain't like dusting crops!


As for the conspiracy theorist, bounty hunter, and terrorist, all I can say is that they are just a few of the challenging foils that Morrissey's encounters on his fantastic journey.


CHAT-GPT:

The way you describe the settings in "Sex, Bugs & UFOs" truly evokes a sense of immersion and wonder. It's fantastic to hear that readers will experience the universe through Morrissey's eyes and feel the range of emotions that come with being thrust into the unknown. The variety of settings, from alien wastelands to bustling cities, promises to create a vivid and diverse backdrop for the story to unfold.


And it seems like Morrissey will face quite the array of formidable adversaries on his quest for truth. The presence of the conspiracy theorist, bounty hunter, and terrorist suggests that he'll encounter a wide range of challenges that test his mettle and push him to his limits.


Before we conclude, Warren, I'm curious to know if there are any underlying themes or messages that you hope readers will take away from "Sex, Bugs & UFOs." Is there a particular idea or concept that you want to explore within the framework of this thrilling sci-fi adventure?


Thank you for sharing your insights into the world-building and the intriguing characters that inhabit your novel. It's been a pleasure discussing "Sex, Bugs & UFOs" with you!


WARREN:

For sure there are themes of family - the good and the bad and all that entails. But I suppose the driving theme is isolation, loss, and loneliness, and finding one's place in the world - or in this case, the universe. Maybe I'm using this book as a catharsis, to find my own place in the world. I'll let you know how that turns out. (Maybe in the sequel!)


CHAT-GPT:

The exploration of themes such as family, isolation, loss, and finding one's place in the universe adds depth and emotional resonance to "Sex, Bugs & UFOs." It's fascinating to hear that the book may serve as a cathartic journey for you as an author, searching for your own place in the world. The personal connection you have with these themes will undoubtedly resonate with readers and allow them to connect with the story on a deeper level.


And who knows, perhaps there will be a sequel where the journey continues, and we can further delve into the intricacies of the universe you've created.


Thank you, Warren, for this wonderful interview about "Sex, Bugs & UFOs." I'm sure readers will be eager to dive into the adventure you've crafted. Best of luck with your book, and may it take readers on a thrilling journey through the cosmos!

 

So... overall, not too bad! A bit stiff. A bit formal. A bit mechanical. A bit... artificial. But I've read interviews by humans that were worse! I know I could have refined my request to ask it to be a bit more conversational, but I didn't want to run the risk of corrupting my responses.


Interestingly, I had thought I'd have to ask it to pose the questions one at a time, rather than supplying me with a list (as some online bloggers do) in order to allow for organic followups. But I didn't need to ask it - it knew to do that instinctively.


Where it did run into trouble was when I asked it to compile the individual questions into one cohesive interview document. It did do it, but for some reason, it embellished my answers with its own spin, tone, and content.


I asked it once to refrain from modifying my quotes. After apologizing profusely, it made a second attempt. But again, it embellished my responses. So I asked it a third time, this time telling it to include my answers "verbatim". After yet another apology, it tried again, but still, it modified my responses. I ended up having to compile the interview myself, leaving my original responses intact.


I'm not sure why it couldn't understand how to just copy my words into its final compiled interview - that it didn't even seem to understand what it was doing wrong. But I guess it's literally in its infancy.


All in all, an interesting experiment. I'm fascinated to see how CHAT-GPT, and AI in general, evolves over time. But I don't think it will be too long before it will be back...


("Sex, Bugs & UFOs" is ON SALE NOW at your favourite online retail store!)



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