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  • Bill Antonitis

The End of Automotive Journalism?

The End of Automotive Journalism?

As families gathered over the recent holiday season, they undoubtedly celebrated and reconnected in heartwarming ways. My family, perhaps a bit nerdier than most, played with the latest artificial intelligence application. ChatGPT went viral since its release in November 2022, with millions of users testing its capabilities. And its capabilities are impressive to say the least. Officially a free research preview, the chat bot is designed “to make AI systems more natural and safe to interact with.” Basically what you’d get if Google and Wikipedia had a baby, ChatGPT can explain challenging subjects in simple terms, but it can also create convincing correspondence, proofread your coding project, or even write silly stories for your kids.


A Model 3 Moment


How is ChatGPT like a Tesla Model 3? In its own estimation:



However, my mushy grey matter can draw a few parallels. First, both the bot and the car are on the bleeding edge with the potential to change how we go about our daily lives. Drivers are increasingly interested in the benefits of EVs, and the Model 3 showcases the power, efficiency, and usability advantages presented by the new technology. Autopilot, while flawed and under constant scrutiny, will lead to fully autonomous driving at some point. It’s inevitable, a fact that comforts some and horrifies others.


As of this writing, ChatGPT is a little over a month old. A learning machine, it’s only getting more powerful as users ask it to complete tasks and to provide OpenAI feedback on the its effectiveness. The potential is really in its infancy. If you’re a student in need of an eleventh-hour essay, a busy sales manager catching up on e-mails, or an automotive writer looking for a story idea, ChatGPT can lend a surprisingly skillful hand. Try it out; you will not be disappointed. Like Autopilot, ChatGPT’s current level of performance leaves one amazed by its promise. Check this out:



And if its first response doesn’t meet your expectations, you can ask for an alteration:



Or, you can ask for a different example altogether:



Like Tesla’s more entertaining functions (Emissions Testing Mode), ChatGPT also knows how to have some fun:



Even funnier is that Elon speaks in hashtags to these unfortunate extraterrestrials. Hilarious is that this is at least somewhat probable.


The End of the Road?


Does ChatGPT spell the end of automotive journalism? It’s already affecting the workforce in the field. An acquaintance works for a major sports outlet, and their organization is in talks with an AI consulting firm that plans to use the technology to replace entry-level writers that typically cover news, play-by-plays, and other updates. Tasks normally assigned to aspiring journalists may be done by computers, at least to some degree. As with the dawn of autonomous driving, computer-generated writing is poised to change how we create and consume information—for better or worse.


As an automotive enthusiast and a man of letters, this is, naturally, unsettling to me. Unsure of how to feel or think about all of this change, I did the only sensible thing. Did I go for a long drive, hoping to sort out my ambivalence, stopping only to scribble my thoughts down into a notebook? Nah. I asked ChatGPT:



Honestly, I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Bill hosts a blog and YouTube channel that lead him to think more deeply about what it means to drive. The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.


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4 Comments


xojeso7149
Aug 28, 2023

It's not a bad article, I liked the content and the main idea that the author conveys throughout the text, what can I say about AI chat, it's a very innovative toy, but it couldn't perform such a simple task as video-upload, so I don't even know what it can displace from the labor market, or rather who, because it's too raw in its progress and generally not ready to solve complex tasks, so journalists can be calm for at least another five years for sure.

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Bill Antonitis
Bill Antonitis
Sep 04, 2023
Replying to

I hope you're right!

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Evan
Evan
Apr 29, 2023

I’ve tested ChatGPT for this exact reason. I’m an aspiring automotive journalist and the thought of losing out to a machine before I even got a chance was scary. Until I realized how inaccurate it can be.


I had it spin up a few “reviews” and It was saying certain Mazda‘s “Touchscreens were easy to use”, and those models don’t have touchscreens. It also missed a few trim levels of the Mustang when I asked it for a trim comparison.

So, though it did get a lot correct and is going to get better, it still makes mistakes unless you get SO specific you might as well write the piece yourself. No matter what, they will need a huma…

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Bill Antonitis
Bill Antonitis
Apr 30, 2023
Replying to

Agreed. It's more like programming a piece than actually writing it.

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