On the 4th of April we hosted a very special Meetup on a hot topic: ChatGPT. In the panel discussion 3 panelists explored and shared their insights on the influence of ChatGPT on WordPress.
By the number of attendees (around 70 visitors) we can conclude there is a big interest in the topic. We hope to follow this up somewhere next year. 🚀
[Video recording of this Meetup at the bottom of the page]
What is ChatGPT?
The Meetup started with a short introduction by Jaap on what ChatGPT actually is.
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) model that is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response to the user. It acts in a conversational way with the user as a chat bot.
There are 3 versions:
- Login version (your conversations are saved)
Once you open the website (chat.openai.com) it enlightens you with examples, capabilities and limitations of the AI tool. Most people might not even read it, but it’s quite interesting to take a look at it, says Jaap. It explains it remembers what users have said earlier in the conversation, and how you can ask follow-up questions to get more and more answers. Jaap shows you can even type in restrictions, like ‘say this in less words’ or ‘explain this in Dutch’. So the tool seems quite smart.
There are also multiple purposes you can use ChatGPT for. You can ask for information. Let it write a poem or a song, let it summarize a text, make a list or write a legal letter.
The influence of ChatGPT on WordPress
Jaap started by asking this same question to ChatGPT: “What is the influence of ChatGPT on WordPress?”
ChatGPT answered that “as an AI model it does not have a direct influence on wordpress. But developers can use ChatGPT to automate functions, like customer support.”
But a lot of customer support are already bots. So nothing really new here.
But the third paragraph talks about using it for generating new content and improving SEO. Here it gets a little more interesting. Let’s wait and see what Joost de Valk (the founder of Yoast) has to say about this.
Jaap concludes that it’s an incredible tool and will be transformative, just like the time that Google launched, back in 1998.
But the question remains: how can we use ChatGPT in the WordPress community?
The members of the panel were 3 familiar faces in the Dutch WordPress community: Monique Dubbelman (UX specialist and speaker at many WordCamps), Paul van Buuren (WordPress specialist with focus on accessibility and founder, CEO, CTO and majority shareholder of Tegelizr.nl), and Joost de Valk (founder of Yoast SEO and long time WordPress core contributor).
The panel discussion followed one question: “What is the influence of ChatGPT on WordPress?” And was split into 6 areas: development, design, content, accessibility, marketing, and SEO.
Note: The enquoted parts are derived from personal notes made during the discussion. They are sometimes combined, slightly altered or shortened to make this blog post more readable. Also: I could have noted or understood things wrong. If you would like to quote one of the panelists, use the video of the Meetup which will be shared once it’s ready.
ChatGPT & WordPress Development
Question: What’s the influence of ChatGPT on WordPress development?
Joost: “It all depends on how you use it. The problem is that we don’t know on what the model is trained on, so we don’t know how good it is.”
But to Joost it’s clear ChatGPT will make coding a lot faster. It means you can spend much more time on the logic behind it and less on the stuff around it.
It’s already true that breakthrough technologies don’t need large teams anymore. ChatGPT will only help this forward.
Paul: “It can help do our work better, but it will never replace us. We will always be needed. It can comment on code and explain code. So it is a help, like an extra Clippy (the annoying help assistant introduced in MS Office 97).”
Monique: “I am not a developer. My background lies in the graphical industries. In my days, we worked with offset printers and sometimes even typesetted with lead. This was a slow and costly process. So when digital printing was introduced, it made printing more affordable and easier to produce. There were printing companies that said the same thing as we might say now: I’ll always be better than a digital printer. But those companies don’t exist anymore now.”
So Monique thinks we should embrace new technology, but also be critical on how to use it. She doesn’t see it as a replacement, and wouldn’t be calling herself a developer if starting a career now with ChatGPT.
ChatGPT & WordPress Design
Question: What can you design with ChatGPT because it’s all about texts?
Monique: “Design is much more than the visual part. Design in my opinion is a lot about solving problems. ChatGPT will be able to help you discover and speed up things. Like creating a research survey for usability testing. It can also give you a lot of ideas. But the tool can never be creative, like an artist or poet.”
Paul: “Creativity is something a machine cannot do. If you want more cliches, ChatGPT can help you. But translate specific ideas into something creative? It can’t.”
Joost: “It doesn’t help you with the outcome, but in the process AI helps you speed up the small and daily tasks. Anyone who is not using it, is doing themselves a disservice.”
ChatGPT & WordPress Content
Question: What’s the influence of ChatGPT on creating content?
Paul: “ChatGPT can for example help you with small parts, like to generate headings, but never complete articles. Because real journalism is not something that a chatbot can do.”
Joost: “It is super dangerous to use ChatGPT for generating content, because you could copy stuff that is not true. Bots are known for ‘hallucinating’. For example, if you prompt ‘bio about person X’, it will give you something that relates to the prompt, but doesn’t relate to the person. And that’s where untruths get in. It could say all kinds of things that aren’t actually true to that person.”
Joost thinks that when content creation becomes so incredibly cheap as it is now, Google needs to focus more on authors. Because if you know who wrote it, the content becomes more reliable.
Monique: “If it is this easy to generate more content, you just get more shit. So think about how you use it.”
ChatGPT & WordPress Accessibility
Question: What’s the influence of ChatGPT on WordPress Accessibility?
Paul: “With AI you can check if an image has an alt-tag, but not if it’s the correct description to the image. For example if the description is ‘Image of bottle’, but the image has your picture on it, it won’t notice that.”
Joost: “Obviously you could build a plugin to generate that alt-tags all for you. This would be the worst idea ever.”
“But if you want to subtitle this session om video, then ChatGPT would be really helpful. Because then the source of the information is only the spoken language in the video. It could type or understand something wrong, but it could not invent information on it’s own.”
ChatGPT & WordPress Marketing & SEO
Question: ChatGPT says it can provide relevant and unique content.
Joost: “ChatGPT is a perfect help to structure things. The chat interface is a great invention and this is what made ChatGPT so popular. But don’t use it for research and generating content. It’s just a bad idea until we all know what’s in those models and they solve the hallucination issue, where it comes up with its own facts. Use it as a writing tool, use it to summarize, but never to generate content.”
“Rand Fishkin said: ‘the lower bar for content is what ChatGPT has an answer for.’ But that shouldn’t be our bar. Like Karl Gilis said in typical Dutch: ‘Stop met content te kakken’. Stop shitting content. And this is what we are doing for a while now.”
Monique adds: “We need better content instead of more content. Don’t just write for clicks.”
“With so much and longform content around, we need better tools to take the relevance out of content. Where you deduce the options you have with transparency.”
“Also think carefully about what you put into ChatGPT. And in the plugins you connect with it. Don’t enter any personal data. Or intellectual property. Because we don’t know where that data goes and what the tools do with it.”
Paul: “The problem with generating content is that AI has nothing to do with truth. It has to do with statistics. It has no ethics, it is not meant to be good for society. It therefore has a trust issue. If I search on Google I can see sources. A few that I might trust and look into, and other ones that I don’t trust and skip.”
“Instead ChatGPT only provides one answer. And without mentioning a source. We can therefore never use it as a research tool. Keep in mind that you are responsible for the text you put on your site.”
Joost: “One thing to think about: the incredible amount of electricity to train these models. And once a model is trained, it’s already outdated and needs to be trained again. It’s a continuous process. I have a deep deep problem with using these tools to play around with, while it’s taking so incredibly much energy.”
Monique: “Read books on paper. Buy them second-hand, because they already exist.”
Questions from the audience
Can you correct an answer given by ChatGPT?
Joost: “No. There is a thumbs down button on the answer which can use if the answer is not correct. But it doesn’t learn, you can’t give the right answer back. It will use your feedback to change the model later on, so it is a good thing to thumb it down. But it won’t correct it at that moment.”
Question about hallucination.
Joost: “You can reduce the chance of hallucinating if you prompt it right. For example, prompt it to only look for answers in a specific source, or prompt for an answer only with source.”
Italy put a stop to ChatGPT. Is that a good idea or not?
Joost: “No. Because of the wrong reasons. But my biggest fear is that our lawmakers don’t have a clue on what’s going on. We need to get to a licensing model on whose content gets in. For example, ChatGPT uses The Guardian’s archives, but they are not paid for it.”
Monique adds: “We should embrace it, but teach people how to use it wisely.”
*Important! This recap is following the notes Stephanie made during the Meetup. Please don’t use this recap to copy quotes of the panelists, because there might be flaws or misinterpretations in it. Use the video to listen to the specific answers and if citing, run it by the panelists(s).
We hope to see you at our next Meetup on the 23rd of May! 👋🏻
Video recording of this Meetup
For the first time we did our best to record this Meetup on video. Woop Woop! 🎥🥳
Panel Discussion on ChatGPT & WordPress with Monique Dubbelman, Paul van Buuren & Joost de Valk
WordPress Meetup ChatGPT & WordPress recorded on video.
Our panel members Monique Dubbelman, Joost de Valk & Paul van Buuren!