Will AI replace pundits?

You may have seen that Microsoft has added ChatGPT capabilities to its search engine, Bing:

Now with a focus on AI, Microsoft recently invested about $10 billion in OpenAI, the research laboratory behind the AI chatbot ChatGPT.

Microsoft also launched its new Bing search engine, created in collaboration with OpenAI. The search engine now displays ChatGPT-like skills, including writing personalized emails, translating texts in over a hundred languages and recommending various searches.


I just finished Donna Tartt’s debut novel, The Secret History, and I thought it was fantastic — up past midnight turning pages. I’ve now started her Pulitzer Prize winning third novel, The Goldfinch. It is deep, dark and quite disturbing, where she compels us to relive our deepest fears, like when we were kids, home alone, well after sunset, imagining in more and more detail why our parents weren’t home. I’m not really sure I want to continue, so why not seek some advice by asking Bing/ChatGPT to compare the two novels? Here’s what it said:

Donna Tartt is an acclaimed American writer who has published three novels: The Secret History (1992), The Little Friend (2002), and The Goldfinch (2013). The Secret History and The Goldfinch share some similarities, such as being set in part at elite educational institutions, featuring a group of friends who are involved in a crime or a secret, and exploring themes of art, beauty, morality, and fate.

However, they also differ in many ways. The Secret History is a dark and suspenseful novel that follows a group of classics students at a fictional college in Vermont who murder one of their own under the influence of an ancient ritual. The Goldfinch is a sprawling and emotional novel that follows the life of Theo Decker, who survives a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and steals a priceless painting that becomes his obsession and salvation. While The Secret History is more focused on the psychological dynamics of the characters and their intellectual pursuits, The Goldfinch is more expansive and covers various locations, cultures, genres, and styles.

Both novels have been praised for their literary quality and originality , but The Goldfinch has also received some criticism for its length and plot. In 2014, The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

I had asked for the comparison in “professional” tone — from among the 5 choices ranging from professional to funny — of medium length, in paragraph format.

Here is the same request in “funny” tone and short length:

Donna Tartt is a master of writing long novels that take her decades to finish. Her first novel, The Secret History, was published in 1992 and tells the story of a group of classics students who murder one of their own in a twisted homage to ancient Greek rituals. Her third novel, The Goldfinch, was published in 2013 and tells the story of a boy who steals a painting after surviving a terrorist attack that kills his mother.

Both novels are full of suspense, tragedy, and obsession, but they also have some differences. For one thing, The Secret History is set mostly in Vermont and focuses on the elite world of academia, while The Goldfinch is set mostly in New York and Las Vegas and explores the seedy underworld of art dealers and criminals. For another thing, The Secret History has six main characters who are all equally guilty and complex, while The Goldfinch has one main character who is mostly innocent and sympathetic. And finally, The Secret History is inspired by a real painting by Carel Fabritius that was destroyed in an explosion in 1654, while The Goldfinch is inspired by another real painting by Carel Fabritius that miraculously survived the same explosion.

So if you like novels that are long, dark, and full of art history references, you might enjoy both of these books by Donna Tartt. But if you prefer novels that are short, light-hearted, and easy to read in one sitting…well…maybe look elsewhere.

You know, this is even more disturbing than Tartt’s novels. Nevertheless, we press on with The Goldfinch.

Bing/ChatGPT offers a style called “Blog Post,” incidentally …