My campus has a yearly technology conference that present at every year. As the deadline for submissions was quickly approaching, I needed to quickly put together a session proposal for the event.
For one of my sessions, I wanted to present on machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) writing assistants and their use in the classroom. With all of the buzz around ChatGPT and GPT-3 fueled tools, I decided to use an AI tool to write up the proposal for the conference. For this purpose, I used Writesonic, a tool I’ve been playing with for some time. There is a lot of buzz around ChatGPT, but I’ve found that every time I try to use it, it’s down because of high demand.
Writesonic has a number of tools built into the system. One of these is ChatSonic, an interface that mimics the effect of ChatGPT. I typed the requirements of the session proposal into ChatSonic and copy/pasted the responses into the online submission form for the conference. I did very little editing of the responses from the AI virtual assistant. Any edits I made were due to word count limits in the online submission form, or changing “paper” to “session” and other clarifying elements.
You can review the online saved version of my conversation with the AI assistant at this public page. I also embedded a PDF output of the conversation at the bottom of this post.
I also contacted the chairs of the review panel for the conference after I submitted the proposal and let them know that I used an AI tool to complete the submitted proposal…and that I was going to post this work on my blog. I blurred out their contact info below as well as a tech request for my classroom. They responded that they thought it was “funny” and “awesome” that I was using the tool for the purpose of the session. We’ll see whether the session is approved.
As I explore different AI tools, I’ve been wondering how effective a virtual assistant would be in some of my regular work processes and products. I write and submit proposals for conference sessions several times per year. This process usually involves searching back through my vast library of old proposals, research notes, class materials, and relevant documents. If I’m presenting with others (this is preference) the process takes some time as we herd cats to get the ideas together, get everyone to agree on the focus, and get materials completed on time.
Needless to say, I feel like very little of the process involves new or novel thought. Most of this involves understanding the logic and argument of the proposal and making it meet your needs, and the needs of the conference. This is more difficult and requires more focus as you add variables like more presenters, or more challenging perspectives and areas of research or theory.
Using ChatSonic and WriteSonic provided an easy way to write a really good title that was better than anything I could create. I should note that I value good titles for pieces. I also used ChatSonic to write the title for this blog post. My original title was: Writing a Session Proposal About AI Writing Assistants Using an AI Writing Assistant. Lame. 🙂
The biggest challenge with using the tool was identifying the best query to get the best result. You can see from the results that this wasn’t that big of a challenge.
I’m sure there will be some pushback about having an AI assistant do most of the work instead of me taking the extra 20 minutes to organize and wordsmith my ideas for the submission. I’ve spent some years writing and submitting conference proposals, so I’m thankful for some assistance and saving of time in my day.
Lastly, this process makes me think about the ways that a tool like this has to democratize the conference proposal submission process. As a proposal writer/submitter, and a proposal reviewer…and someone that helps colleagues organize, write, and wordsmith proposals, there is a need to know how to write your content in a way that signifies to the reviewer that you’re “in their community.” Many times, this includes expertise of standard academic English, and saying things that resonate with that community.
There is a certain amount of privilege that exists in this process. Having a virtual assistant that can give you a good starting point that can then be used to craft a proposal that has the potential to be accepted.
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Cover Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash