We’ve been reading a lot about this new method of generating text using Artificial Intelligence. Apparently, American universities are all of a twitter because students now have a new avenue for not doing the work themselves. An essay generated by ChatGPT is either indistinguishable from good work, or is readily identifiable, according to which account you are reading. We wondered how it would do at generating a blog post for us, so that instead of devoting our time to research, photography, and writing, we can lounge about drinking coffee and playing Wordle.
So – we set ChatGPT this task:
Write an 800 word blog post, illustrated, about the history of West Cork, in Ireland
Here’s what it came up with. What do you think? How accurate is it? Could we pass it off as one of our blog posts? What grade would you give us if it was an assignment for a history course?
West Cork is a region located in the southwestern part of Ireland, known for its rugged coastal landscapes, picturesque villages, and rich cultural heritage. The history of West Cork is a story of resilience, tradition, and change.
The earliest human settlements in West Cork date back to the Mesolithic period, around 8,000 BC. These early inhabitants were hunter-gatherers who left behind evidence of their presence in the form of flint tools and other artifacts. The Neolithic period, around 4,000 BC, saw the arrival of farmers who cleared the land for agriculture and built megalithic tombs and standing stones, such as the famous Drombeg stone circle.
The Bronze Age, around 2,000 BC, saw the arrival of metalworking and the construction of ring forts, such as the one at Cahergal, near Skibbereen. The Iron Age, around 600 BC, saw the arrival of the Celts, who brought with them their own language, culture, and traditions. The Celts established settlements and farms throughout West Cork, and their descendants continue to live in the region to this day.
The arrival of the Vikings in the 9th century AD brought about significant changes to the region. The Vikings established settlements along the coast, such as the one at Baltimore, and they also established trading routes that brought goods and ideas from Europe and beyond. The Vikings were eventually driven out by the Irish, but their legacy can still be seen in the place names and architecture of West Cork.
The Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century brought further changes to the region. The Normans established castles and towns, such as the one at Skibbereen, and they also established feudal systems of land ownership and governance. The Normans also brought with them new technologies, such as the water mill, which greatly improved agricultural productivity.
The 16th and 17th centuries saw the arrival of the English, who established plantations and brought with them new forms of religion, law, and governance. The English also brought with them new forms of industry, such as the linen and woolen mills, which brought prosperity to the region. However, the English also imposed harsh laws and taxes on the Irish, leading to widespread poverty and suffering.
The 18th and 19th centuries saw the rise of the Irish nationalist movement, which sought to end English rule and establish an independent Irish nation. The people of West Cork played a key role in this movement, and the region was the site of many important events in Irish history, such as the 1798 rebellion and the 1803 rising.
The 20th century saw the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, and the region of West Cork continued to play an important role in Irish politics and culture. The region also saw significant changes in its economy and society, as new technologies and industries, such as tourism and fishing, brought new forms of prosperity and opportunity.
Today, West Cork is a vibrant and diverse region, known for its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and friendly people. Visitors to the region can explore its many historical sites, such as the Drombeg stone circle and the Baltimore castle, and enjoy its many outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and sailing. They can also sample the local cuisine, which is renowned for its seafood, dairy products, and traditional Irish dishes.
In conclusion, West Cork’s history is a story of resilience, tradition, and change. From the earliest human settlements to the present day, the people of West Cork have faced and overcome many challenges, and have always remained true to their culture and traditions. Today, West Cork is a vibrant and diverse region, rich in natural beauty, history and culture
Note- no illustrations. OpenAI can give you illustrations, but it’s a whole other process and I got too bogged down in the directions to go far with it. Instead, I asked ChatGPT the following question:
Q: where can I get good photographs of West Cork?
It responded by pointing me to stock photo sites, Instagram and other social media sites, travel sites and blogs. It added, helpfully,
You can also consider visiting West Cork yourself and taking your own photographs of the region. This can be a great way to capture unique, personal images that reflect your own experience of the area.
Thanks so much to those who commented. If you don’t know much about the history of West Cork then it might appear that ChatGPT provided some ‘better than expected’ content. But a careful reading will show you that it provided information at a very generic and superficial level.
It was in fact full of errors. A few examples – Drombeg is not Neolithic; ringforts do not date to the Bronze Age; Cahergal is in Kerry, nowhere near Skibbereen; modern historians and archaeologists no longer believe a race called the Celts arrived in Ireland; there is no evidence of a Viking settlement in West Cork, let alone in Baltimore; the Normans did not establish Skibbereen, and we had water mills before they arrived; the idea that the English brought prosperity to the region would be disputed by many historians; the 1798 rebellion was not centred in West Cork; Nothing happened in Cork to support the 1803 rebellion.
Glaring omissions: The Famine does not merit a mention yet was the defining feature of West Cork history in the nineteenth century; Ditto the War of Independence and the Civil War for the 20th century, and the Munster Plantations and the Battle of Kinsale for the 17th.
All in all – a miserable failure. I would give this an F if it was handed in to me by a student. Some of you also commented on the stilted and formulaic language – this would tip off any teacher/professor, surely.
So – I don’t think we’ll be turning to ChatGPT to generate our content any time soon!