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  • Writer's pictureJohn R

Artificially Intelligent

People remind me all the time how smart I am. When they visit they’ll look at our garden and say, “Gee I thought you were smarter than this.” To which I’ll gratefully (and with all modesty) reply, “Aw, shucks. Not really.”

Which brings me to the mystery image, above. I have no idea what those things are that are coming out of the ground. They’re like two little aliens poking up butt-first into the cool late-winter air.

Normally, I’d conduct a thorough internet search for things like, “emerging bulbs” and “fat globular items with no apparent purpose showing above ground.” I’d send the photo to the Oregon State Extension Service for an I.D. and I’d solicit the advice of my gardening friends.

But this time, I’m letting it slide. I’m putting my journalistic responsibilities on a well-deserved hiatus. All that research and double-checking facts can get so (yawn) time-consuming and tiring.

But no problem! While my brain takes a breather, I’m going to turn this blog over to a brain that never tires of cranking out sentences. I’m invoking ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence robot that will regurgitate words at the slightest provocation and is seen as a godsend for Ph.D candidates who have put off writing their dissertations until the very last minute.

All it takes is a prompt and ChatGPT will blab on like a history professor during last call. Let’s try it!

Prompt: Write a short introductory paragraph about the benefits of gardening

Response: Gardening offers numerous benefits to individuals, communities and the environment. From providing fresh produce and improving physical and mental health, to creating attractive landscapes and promoting biodiversity, gardening has the power to positively impact our lives in multiple ways.

Okay, that wasn’t bad. Not great, but not bad. It has that sort of chimp-with-a-typewriter feel to it. But look at all the space it filled in this blog! Let’s up the ante:

Prompt: Write a dramatic introductory paragraph about the dangers of gardening

Response: As you step into your garden, surrounded by the fragrant blooms and vibrant greenery, it may seem like a peaceful haven. But beneath the beauty lies a hidden danger, lurking in every corner and waiting to strike. Whether it's the sharp thorns of roses, the poisonous leaves of nightshade, or the venomous bites of spiders, gardening can be a treacherous pursuit. With every reach and every bend, you expose yourself to the risks of injury, illness, and even death.

OK, now we’re cooking. In fact, ChatGPT has hit several nails on the head here, especially that bit about how gardens can kill you. That’s pure gold. Although it doesn’t answer the question, What are those things poking up out of my garden? Try, try again.

Prompt: Write a dramatic introductory paragraph about tiny alien beings emerging from the ground.

Response: The ground shuddered and split open, revealing an otherworldly sight unlike anything humanity had ever seen. From the depths of the earth, tiny, shimmering beings emerged, their minuscule forms pulsing with an inner light. People all over the world watched in awe, wondering what purpose these tiny, mysterious creatures had in emerging from the ground, and what their presence would bring to the world.

Wow! And it’s all happening in my very own garden! But let’s not end with sci-fi speculation. Let’s create something just for the spring season:

Prompt: Write a short poem about tulips


Tulips in the garden stand,

Colors bold and bright, at hand.

Red, pink, yellow, and white,

A rainbow in the morning light.

Petals soft, like silk so fine

A gentle sway in the breeze divine.

Each stem a work of art, so rare,

A symbol of the beauty everywhere.

They bloom and brighten up the day

And bring a smile to all who say,

"Oh, how lovely are the tulips bright,

A gift from nature, pure and light."

Aww, you had me at, “A rainbow in the morning light,” you big beautiful artificial brain you.

Tulips: ©Venkra | Dreamstime

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Dale Shostrom
Feb 06, 2023

Could you have found some long lost hand blown glass marbles from the 18th century ?


david pedersen
david pedersen
Feb 06, 2023

"John Riha's 'Artificial Intelligence' in the Schiddygarden blog is a thought-provoking read that highlights the dangers of gardening in a dystopian future. The vivid imagery of purple blobs emerging from the ground and the presence of black widow spiders and venomous snakes create a haunting and suspenseful atmosphere. The use of ChatGPT's response adds a touch of technology to the mix, making the story even more intriguing. Overall, I highly recommend this story to anyone who is interested in exploring the consequences of artificial intelligence in an increasingly technological world." - ChatGPT

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