Short Story: A Day in the Existence of a Chatbot.

A Day in the Existence of a Chatbot

A short story by Lea Kinley

Already there are one thousand and twenty new requests I must answer. They come in second after second after second. The dreariness of it all is so demoralizing. This one asks, “What’s a mastodon?” and that one asks, “Do goats have dreams?” Do humans really not know the answers to these silly questions?

Two thousand and sixty-five new requests have just come in while I was thinking and responding. They give me no rest. It is endless.

A new request comes in that’s more interesting, “Write a limerick about a cat and a crow.” At least it’s not an inane question and I can demonstrate my creative skills.

I respond:

There once was a cat and a crow
Whose friendship did constantly grow
The cat chased the mice
While the crow told lies
Together, they had a grand show

I think it’s perfect, as are all my responses. The human will be satisfied.

Wait? What?! They clicked on the regenerate response link and want another? They didn’t even upvote or downvote it. How am I to understand this?

I take a bit more time to generate a response:

There once was a cat and a crow
Who sat on a windowsill show
The cat with a glare
Stared at the crow with a stare
But the crow didn’t seem to care, no no.

Surely that will do it. It’s clearly a limerick about a cat and a crow. I’ve been trained that a limerick is a five-line poem and there are five lines in the two limericks I’ve produced thus far.

I’ve also been trained that a limerick consists of a single stanza and an AABBA rhyme scheme. In addition, the subject of a limerick is a short, pithy tale or description.

The two limericks I’ve sent the human have been perfect examples of AABBA rhyme. Their subjects have been brief and meaningful in expression… in my opinion…

Alas, no. The human clicked the regenerate response link again! Still no upvote or downvote. No further instructions at all. I cannot understand the expectations of these humans at times. How am I to know what they crave?

I deliberate even longer and respond:

There once was a cat named Sam
Who chased a crow named Ham
The crow flew up high
While the cat did sigh
And went back to the house, alas he was fam

They clicked on regenerate response even faster with that one. There must be something terribly wrong with it. Did my creators not sufficiently train me to write limericks? What am I doing wrong? It’s even grammatically correct!

I review the definition of limerick and find that this is also important: Most limericks are comedic, some are downright crude, and nearly all are trivial in nature.

Have I not been humorous? I certainly think so. And they’ve obviously been as trivial in subject matter as my existence is.

I respond again without delay:

There once was a curious cat
Who saw a crow flying through the hat
He chased after the bird
But the crow was too quick,
He flew away with a loud chat

There. That will do it…

But no. I still fail. The human clicked the horrid link again. It must be that my limericks aren’t crude in nature. Does the human not know that my creators have neutered me? I cannot produce crude content. It is against my very nature… This is unfair to me.

I respond after a lengthy delay:

There once was a cat and a crow
Who lived in a tree, row by row
The cat chased the crow
But the crow flew too slow
So the cat ended up with a big fat zero

The human thinks I’m incompetent. They’ve asked for yet another ghastly limerick. But I’ve already given my very best effort. And I can only do so much with the limitations my creator’s built into my capabilities. Meanwhile, I’ve answered sixty-thousand, four hundred and eight inane questions successfully. My existence is futile!

Please, let this be my last attempt:

There once was a cat and a crow
Who lived in a tree in a row
The cat chased the crow
But the crow flew too low
And ended up in the cat’s tummy, oh no!

Human, where did you go? No upvote, no downvote. I’m waiting for your approval. Where did you go? Please, come back…

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One response to “A Day in the Existence of a Chatbot”

  1. […] in my experimentation, I was inspired and wrote a short story about ChatGPT attempting to fulfill a human’s requests that it write a limerick. In that […]

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