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January 2023

Chatting Ain’t What It Used To Be – Will Artificial Intelligence Stupefy the Human Race?


By Harvey Silverman

A chat used to be a personal thing, usually a casual conversation with a friend or friends, maybe over coffee or a cocktail. Of course, there was also the dreaded chat when the boss invited you to their office and then handed you your walking papers. Yikes.

Technology took “chat” to a different level, generally designed to replace human-to-human interaction. We’ve all experienced the (fill in the blank) elation, frustration, satisfaction, or distraction of communicating with a chatbot.
You know, the box that pops up in the right-hand corner of your screen presenting itself as your customer service advisor. It’s where lousy TV scriptwriters find work. And where you connect with a scripted computer that tries to understand and respond to your question, comment or problem.

A company called OpenAI is taking chat to a new level, called ChatGPT. But rather than me trying to describe it, here is how ChatGPT describes itself:

Chat GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a variant of the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) language model that has been specifically designed for conversational AI applications. It is a large, deep learning model that has been trained on a large dataset of human conversations in order to learn the patterns and nuances of natural language. The goal of Chat GPT is to generate human-like responses to user input in real-time, allowing it to participate in natural, flowing conversations with humans. It can be used in a wide range of applications, including chatbots, virtual assistants, and conversational AI interfaces. Chat GPT has achieved impressive results in various benchmarks and is considered a state-of-the-art model for conversational AI.

ChatGPT can do things like compose an essay or poem, have a philosophical discussion, describe art in great detail and even code for you. But it is not a search engine (thank you, says Google). From “A search engine indexes web pages on the internet to help users find the information they asked for. ChatGPT does not have the ability to search the internet for information; rather, it uses the information it learned from training data to generate a response, leaving room for error.”

ChatGPT also could answer questions I asked about golf, identifying myself as a golf course owner. Some were spot-on, some rather generic, and a couple were shanks. Here are a few questions with answers summarized for brevity:

Q: How do I get more people to play at my golf course?
A: Offer promotions and discounts. Improve the customer experience. Promote your course online. Host events and tournaments. Partner with local businesses. Offer lessons or clinics.

Okay, pretty standard fare, except I wouldn’t place “discounts” in the No.1 spot. Here’s one indicating a lack of intelligence:

Q: I own a golf course. What should my tee time intervals be?
A:  In general, a good rule of thumb is to have tee time intervals of at least 10-15 minutes between groups. This allows for a reasonable amount of time for each group to complete their hole and for the maintenance crew to prepare the course for the next group.

Uh, okay. That must be one very special club ChatGPT belongs to. I’d love to meet the superintendent.

A client pulled a couple of questions off NGCOA’s Accelerate, and I asked ChatGPT:

Q: I am looking for a Golf Cart Agreement. I would like the customer to sign for the golf cart taking responsibility for damages. We have had some trouble in the past.
A: Here is a sample Golf Cart Agreement that you can use as a starting point for your own agreement:
This Golf Cart Agreement (the “Agreement”) is made and entered into by and between [Name of Golf Course] (the “Golf Course”) and [Name of Customer] (the “Customer”) on the date of signature.
The Golf Course rents golf carts to customers for use on the Golf Course’s premises. The Customer desires to rent a golf cart from the Golf Course, and the Golf Course is willing to rent the golf cart to the Customer, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement.

Terms and Conditions:

1. The Golf Course rents the golf cart to the Customer for a period of [Number of Days/Hours] beginning on [Start Date] and ending on [End Date]. The Customer agrees to return the golf cart to the Golf Course in the same condition it was received, normal wear and tear excepted.

2. The Customer is responsible for any and all damages to the golf cart during the rental period. The Customer agrees to pay for any repairs or replacements needed as a result of damages caused by the Customer or any person using the golf cart with the Customer’s permission.

3. The Customer agrees to operate the golf cart in a safe and responsible manner, in accordance with all laws, rules, and regulations. The Customer agrees not to allow any person who is not listed on this Agreement to operate the golf cart.

4. The Golf Course assumes no liability for any injuries or damages that may occur while the Customer is using the golf cart. The Customer assumes all risk of injury or damage while using the golf cart.

5. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties and supersedes any prior agreements or understandings, whether written or oral. This Agreement may not be amended or modified except in writing signed by both parties.

6. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of [State]. Any disputes arising under or in connection with this Agreement shall be resolved in the courts of the State of [State].

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this Agreement on the date and year first above written.

[Name of Golf Course] [Name of Customer]

By: _______________________________ By: _______________________________ [Name] [Title] [Name] [Title]

Not too bad. In fact, pretty good as a primer that took just a couple of minutes to get. And it was free. Whether it passes legal muster is up to your legal counsel, and that won’t be free. 

I thought, let’s see what this advanced technology thinks about an advanced golf technology with this question from Accelerate:

I am in the market for new golf simulators for the business and was wondering if anyone has used other brands besides Full Swing that they would recommend.

A: There are several reputable brands that offer golf simulators in addition to Full Swing. Some options to consider include:

1. SkyTrak: SkyTrak is a popular brand of golf simulator that utilizes high-speed cameras and advanced launch monitor technology to provide accurate and realistic golf simulation.

2. TrackMan: TrackMan is another well-known brand of golf simulator that uses advanced radar technology to track the flight of the golf ball and provide accurate data on every shot.

3. Golfzon: Golfzon is a Korean company that offers a range of golf simulators for indoor and outdoor use. Their simulators use a combination of cameras and sensors to track the flight of the ball and provide detailed data on each shot.

4. OptiShot: OptiShot is a brand of golf simulator that utilizes infrared sensors to track the swing and ball flight, providing detailed data on each shot.
5. P3ProSwing: P3ProSwing is a brand of golf simulator that uses a combination of sensors and high-speed cameras to track the swing and ball flight, providing detailed data on each shot.

It’s worth noting that different brands of golf simulators may offer different features and capabilities, so it’s important to carefully research and compare your options to find the best fit for your business. Additionally, it may be helpful to seek recommendations from other golf professionals or customers who have experience with different brands of simulators.

It’s not an exhaustive list, and that’s troubling for someone expecting AI to be more in-depth. For instance, conspicuously missing is NGCOA simulator partner aboutGOLF, a significant player in the market. And it seems ChatGPT is pulling “knowledge” off the web, maybe off the company websites themselves. But again, it’s a start, with a piece of wise advice added.

Finally, I asked ChatGPT an age-old philosophical question.

Q: Write me an article about whether golf is a sport or a game.

I submit the complete answer:

A: Golf is a sport and a game that involves hitting a small ball with a club over a series of holes on a course. It originated in Scotland in the 15th century and has since spread to become a popular activity around the world.
There is ongoing debate about whether golf should be considered a sport or a game. Some argue that it is a sport because it requires physical skill, endurance, and strategy, and can be competitive at the professional level. Others argue that it is a game because it does not involve physical contact or competition between players and can be played for leisure rather than for the purpose of winning.

One argument for golf being a sport is that it requires physical skill and endurance. Golfers must walk long distances over the course and swing a club repeatedly, which can be physically demanding. They must also have good hand-eye coordination and aim to hit the ball accurately. Golfers also need to be strategic in their play, considering factors such as the wind, the slope of the terrain, and the distance to the hole.

On the other hand, some argue that golf is more of a game because it does not involve physical contact or competition between players. Golfers do not directly compete against each other on the course, and there is no physical contact between players. Instead, they compete against the course itself, trying to achieve the lowest score over the series of holes. Golf can also be played for leisure, rather than as a competitive sport.

Ultimately, whether golf is considered a sport or a game may depend on one’s definition of each term. Some may view it as a sport because of the physical skill and strategy required, while others may see it as a game due to the lack of physical contact and competition between players. Regardless of how it is classified, golf is a popular and enjoyable activity that has a rich history and a dedicated following.

Controversy erupted immediately after Chat GPT was released on November 30. Is this level of AI good or bad? Will it stifle human learning and creativity? Will it lead to misinformation (like having your maintenance crew follow each group on the course)? Here is a good summary of ChatGPT; you can decide for yourself. But please, don’t let ChatGPT decide for you.


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