Use Tools That Help You Grow

I love tools and gadgets. I have many thoughts about AI and how it will affect (or is already affecting) our creativity and ability to think for ourselves. Some of them you can read in this newsletter. But this is not to say that I am refusing to use AI for tasks I believe can complement my creativity and help me express myself better. 

Until recently, I’ve used OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It was the first general-purpose chatbot on the market (and the reason we are even discussing this). Since its launch in November 2022, it has continuously evolved. It has served me pretty well in editing tasks and general searches, but I’ve decided to put it on hold and try Anthropic’s Claude instead. Here’s why. 

The first reason for moving to Claude is that it handles text-editing tasks better. My primary use of AI is for post-writing tasks. I typically don’t use it for brainstorming or to generate ideas. Instead, I write my text “traditionally” and use the AI-based tool to improve it (find mistakes, check for structure and logic of my argument, etc.). I made several attempts with ChatGPT, which still didn’t result in a consistent editing experience. With Claude, the workflow seems to be more natural and consistent. 

ChatGPT might be more versatile, but I like the tools I use to be focused on what I really need. I don’t code, and I don’t generally generate graphics. I rarely need the extensions of the recently added GPTs, and while I can appreciate the idea of the upcoming voice assistant, I can’t imagine using it frequently. At this point, it seems like a gimmick — a very cool one, but still a gimmick. 

When I write (and create in general), I appreciate a clean and focused environment. In that sense, ChatGPT gradually becomes a portal for new (cool) distractions. I prefer a tool that does what I need really well and leaves the gimmicks and distractions aside. 

But there’s another reason for the switch that has nothing to do with the tool itself; it has everything to do with the company behind it. When I left Facebook, it was primarily because Meta’s values felt misaligned with mine. When I ditched Twitter (before it was renamed), it was because of how it made me feel, but no less important, where the company was heading under its new management. Similarly, OpenAI seems less aligned with my values and concerns than Anthropic. Anthropic seems to take safety more seriously. If the cost is slightly slower progress, so be it. Anthropic, for example, is investing in trying to understand how the machine they’ve built actually works to fine-tune it and prevent undesired outcomes. On the face of it, it seems like an investment without business value, and yet they are investing in it. Running faster is easier than genuinely trying to understand and control the implications of what you create. 

All this is based primarily on recent tech news. I don’t have inside information, and I might be completely wrong. I might be convinced (or tempted) to switch back in a few months. The point is that I am trying to look beyond what’s cool and new (with all my love for gadgets). As a user, I regularly ask myself:

  • How does the tool affect me?
  • What are the values of the tool’s creator (which most likely affect also the tool itself)?
  • And most importantly, does the tool help me achieve better results? Does it help me become a better version of myself?

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