Happy New Year: Has ChatGPT Made Me Lazy?

“If users rely too heavily on AI algorithms for decision making, they may become less confident in their own abilities” ChatGPT from Post Human Thinking: ChatGPT and the Last Man


Happy New Year!

I usually start the year by reflecting on the best of my articles (yes, self-indulgent, I know). But this year, it’s hard to make a short list, because the posts I’ve produced in 2023 already makes a very short list.

Seventeen articles were written in 2023. Compare this with 31 articles in 2022, 30 in ’21 and a massive 39 posts in 2020.

Why was I so unproductive last year?

I was pretty busy last year, but I always am.

I was paying attention to the research, my clients, and to trends in psychology, as always. No difference here.

On reflection, I think that the big change last year for me, was the big change for everyone else: ChatGPT. Was this poor man’s secretary making me lazy?

Hendriks Psychology Blog: The Pre-AI Era

Before ChatGPT arrived, I would approach Wednesdays blog writing with a sense of foreboding. I rarely knew exactly what I was going to write, and often didn’t even have a topic in mind. I would spend the first hour of writing awkwardly letting my thoughts tumble off my fingers out onto the keyboard and into the screen.

It was a painful process. The anticipation provoked anxiety and the writing process provoked frustration and shame, as I was faced with my far-from-perfect productive output.

After the first hour it was easier. I was in the flow, and I could even say that, at times, I was delighted and surprised by what had come out of my mind. At times I had never consciously known what I thought about a certain topic before I started writing.

Hendriks Psychology Blog: The Post-AI Era

Since ChatGPT came along, I’ve noticed that I work differently.

If I have a clear idea what I’m going to write about, I find myself asking my robot friend to write a generic article first on the topic at hand. This is what happened with my EMDR articles (here and here), the ADHD piece, the call centre article and the seeking help when a helper post.

In all of these cases, I ended up using little to none of GPT’s work. I took a bit of the framework, perhaps a few facts, but then ended up rewriting the whole thing. I suppose on these weeks GPT was a bit helpful.

But it’s the “no idea what to write” weeks that are more interesting.

When I have a no clear idea of a subject, I throw a few questions to the AI Assistant to get inspiration. Questions like: what’s a hot topic in psychology today?

And how many articles resulted from this approach? None. Not a single one.

What’s even more interesting, is that I had no idea that this approach didn’t work until just now. Before starting this article, I would have thought that the GPT as inspiration method it produced at least a few articles. Not so. It seems that using GPT not only failed to inspire me, but that it also somehow blinded me to its ineffectiveness.

It seems quite clear now that the difference between 2023 and other years, is that in 2023 I trusted GPT to direct my writing, whereas in other years I’ve let my mysterious subconscious orient me. And GPT is not a great director, it’s a better follower.

2024: The Readjustment Phase?

What lessons for the future?

This year, I’m going to go back to just sitting and writing. Seeing what comes out of the deep recesses of my unconscious and going with that.

This difficult process of realisation via production is not at all pleasurable. It’s the sort of task that you find any excuse to avoid (hmmm, my office could really use a deep clean right now). But it seems to work.

It will be no surprise to those who know me and who read my blog, that the conclusion I’ve come to is pessimistic about AI. In the robot’s favour, I will say that it can help when you have a clear idea of what you want to write. And I feel a little hopeful writing this. It feels good to know that, for now, AI is a much better servant than master.

Either way, this year I’ll try to be more productive. At the end of the year, I’ll let you all know how I went trying to relearn to trust my instincts.



by the way, if you’re still wanting my choice of the best 5 articles, see below:

  1. Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Is “Mental Health” Making Things Worse?
  2. Would Your Life be Better Lived by a Robot?
  3. Learned Helplessness: Call Centres and Kafka
  4. Post-Human Thinking: ChatGPT and the Last Man

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