A Horticulturist, A Lawyer, and a Cat walk into a Chat bot...
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Today's entry won't whisk you into the blossoming fields of Provence or take you on a tour of Paris's catacombs. Our destination is cyberspace (of which France is part of, n'est-ce pas?) and the mission is to keep up with technology. This journal will return to its bucolic roots very soon, so please don't leave the room. Without further delay, here's our word of the day:
: someone who is resourceful and able to find solutions to problems on their own
: quelqu'un qui est astucieux et capable de trouver des solutions à des problèmes de manière autonome.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
"Navigating New Technology: A Cat's Guide to Using ChatGPT"
In the dozen or so hours I've poured questions or commands into Chatgpt--an artificial intelligence chatbot--I've had many amusing exchanges--especially when I ask it to respond as a specialist in the field, i.e. "answer as a horticulturist or a lawyer or a cat..." Did you know it could do that? The answers are delivered in very specific ways depending on "who" is talking.
Recently I asked Chatgpt to help with a current garden dilemma. I carefully worded my query as follows: "Answer as a horticulturist: there are tomato plants sprouting in the same pot as my 4-year-old lemon tree. Will the tomato plants be ok?
Here's the answer I got back:
"As a horticulturist, I would advise that it is not recommended to grow tomato plants in the same pot as a lemon tree. Lemon trees have different nutrient requirements than tomato plants, and their growth patterns are also different..."
Next, I asked it to answer as a lawyer...
"As a lawyer, it is important to note that the answer to this question may vary depending on the specific circumstances and applicable laws in the jurisdiction where the lemon tree and tomato plants are located."
"As a cat, my answer would be to first sniff and investigate the tomato plants and lemon tree to satisfy my curiosity. If they are safe and non-toxic to cats, I may choose to lounge in the pot or nearby area, or use the leaves and branches as a fun toy to bat around."
Finally, I asked it to answer as a life coach...
"As a life coach, I would say that having tomato plants sprouting in the same pot as your 4-year-old lemon tree could be seen as a metaphor for life. Sometimes unexpected challenges or opportunities arise, and it's up to us to find ways to adapt and make the most of them."
Answer as Kristi?
I could have gone on for hours, asking the chatbot to reply in various "voices" (while enjoying the colorful output), but it was time to resolve my garden dilemma. In the end, I decided to go with the voice of experience. And in my own experience I have seen tomato plants and citrus plants live together in harmony (in fact, the two tomato seedlings that sprang up last year--in the same small pot as our kumquat--grew into hardy plants yielding a dozen tomatoes!
So the moral of the story is: have fun with artificial intelligence, but call on and trust your own experience as far as possible. In other words, when it comes to new and unfamiliar technology sniff and investigate, then do some lounging in time to mull things over. Indeed, we must continue to think, and not delegate all our problem-solving to a robot.
Now, what would the cat say?
* * *
Lili and the Kumquats. Sounds like a cool band! This year our kumquat tree welcomed dozens of calendula or "souci" blossoms after seeds sprouted in the same little pot as the tree. I'm about to pull out the last of the flowers as more tomato sprouts have appeared this year. It's some kind of magic pot that houses that old kumquat! (Notice one of our doves, above.)
The lemon tree was a gift from Mom. In the background, our old farm table which we still haven't replaced after the fire.
LISTEN TO THE FRENCH
Now you can enjoy another video from FluentListener.com. Be sure to do the whole listening exercise here. And for David's French listening course, go here.
I received this suggestion from Mary, regarding the sound file:
"It would help me immensely if Jean-Marc would say the English word first, then the word in French. I read your article first, then listen to the words - but I cannot remember what the word meant when he speaks it. I love to hear him speak - and really want to know how to pronounce the words correctly - and it would be very beneficial to hear the English word, then in French."
Here you go, Mary! In the following sound file I say the words in English, first, and Jean-Marc pronounces the French:
The horticulturist = L'horticulteur
The tomato plants = Les plants de tomate
The lemon tree = Le citronnier
The nutrients = Les nutriments
Growth = La croissance
The lawyer = L'avocat
The circumstances = Les circonstances
The jurisdiction = La juridiction
The cat = Le chat
Curiosity = La curiosité
Non-toxic = Non-toxique
The life coach = Le coach de vie
The metaphor = La métaphore
The experience = L'expérience
The kumquat = Le kumquat
Harmony = L'harmonie
The problem = Le problème
The technology = La technologie
To resolve = Résoudre
Thought = La pensée
Memories. Making parsley pesto with Smokey. That's another lemon tree we had at our vineyard. I wonder what ChatGPT's life coach would say about all the lemon trees we have tried growing--on the vineyard and now near the beach? Are they metaphoric?
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety