In my SLIG 2023 class today in Evidenced-Based Writing (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy), we were in a session on writing preparation and organization, so when we were given ten minutes to try an organizational exercise, I thought I’d see what ChatGPT could do in ten minutes. I’ve been working on a research project for a couple of years, a Civil War-era NPE, and I’ve written about a half-dozen longish blog posts about it, so I quickly extracted the text from those and dumped that into ChatGPT. My first prompts were for a “topic modeling report,” which is how ChatGPT determines what a text is about. I then asked ChatGPT for a “text summary,” which condenses a lot of text to about 1000 words. Finally, I prompted ChatGPT to “Use that summary to outline a proof argument according to genealogical proof standards,” knowing that ChatGPT would fold the topic modeling also into the outline. I did not tell ChatGPT anything about the Genealogical Proof Standard, but it is clear from the result that it knows something about it. Anyway, while I wouldn’t use this for an article to submit to real journal, for a ten-minute exercise, it was pretty enlightening. This is just an exercise–no pearl-clutching!
Published by Steve Little
Steve Little is the AI Program Director for the National Genealogical Society and the founder of AI Genealogy Insights. I trace my deep roots to one Appalachian county, where, by 1820, all 32 of my 3rd-great-grandparents had settled—many even earlier than that. In fact, 60 of my most recent ancestors were born, lived, and died there, in Ashe County, NC. My passion lies in AI & genetic genealogy: with a keen interest in endogamy, pedigree collapse, and the art of deciphering multiple relationships through DNA segment triangulation, and an insatiable curiosity to explore beneficial uses and current limits of artificial intelligence in genealogy. Beyond genealogy, I wear many hats: I'm a husband and a dad, a Methodist pastor, and a Virginian. My hobbies span from bird watching and sky gazing to chess and film. Additionally, I'm an avid reader, writer, photographer, and regex script hacker. View all posts by Steve Little