Bright blue skies — until next storm hits

The annual NAMI Walks Oklahoma event went off under a bright blue sky at Lower Scissortail Park

Living with a family member who suffers from mental illness reminds me of the weather. There are sunny, cloudless days when blue skies make you optimistic about a bright future. Then the clouds gather and an unexpected rain washes away your unrealistic hopes.

I had one of those blue-sky days on Saturday, literally.

I participated in the annual NAMI Walks Oklahoma event at Lower Scissortail Park on a beautiful, sunny and cloudless day.

Sponsored by NAMI Oklahoma, hundreds of people gathered to walk in support of NAMI’s mission to end the stigma of mental health. It was a great morning.

Although I’m a huge fan of OKC’s Scissortail Park, I had my doubts about how well the newly opened Lower Park would serve the NAMI Walks event.

Too isolated. Not enough parking. An unfamiliar venue south of I-40.

Not to worry. Folks found their way to the park with no problems. And while parking was at a premium, NAMI Oklahoma arranged for a shuttle bus that would take people from free parking areas across from the Paycom Center down to the lower park.

Better yet, the weather matched the festive mood. Bright blue skies and warming temperatures.

So, we had a great time as we listened to the beat of the music selected by the DJ, connected with old acquaintances and heard stories of overcoming anxiety and depression from speakers like Ashley Ehrhart. A former Miss Oklahoma USA and a member of the OKC Thunder Girl dance team, Ehrhart advocates for mental health from her own experience.

There was a Zumba exercise class that broke out, games for kids and ‘Mabel,’ the double-decker English bus from Junction Coffee that had a line of customers all morning.

Then at 10 am, the emcee counted it down and the actual Walk began on a 2 kilometer course over the Lower Scissortail walking trails. The sight of watching hundreds of people marching north toward the upper park and eventually back south on the west side was awesome. There were dogs, strollers, children and large groups wearing matching T-shirts.

I took scores of bad photos as I walked along the course on both the east and west sides.

Anyway, my reservations about the venue were totally unfounded. It teemed with life and enthusiasm. And the bright blue sky fueled my optimism that folks living with mental illness and their families can find that better place.

At least until the next storm hits.

Chatbot comes alive for OKC audience in demo

Dodd AI3
Bucky Dodd, Ph.D., founder & CEO of technology firm ClearKinetic, demonstrates an AI Chatbot at a recent OKC meeting.

“If you came here today for answers, I’m sorry, you will probably leave with more questions.”

That’s how Bucky Dodd, Ph.D., a long-time educator and CEO of an educational technology startup called ClearKinetic, launched his presentation on Artificial Intelligence last week to a group of association executives at the OKC Convention Center.

Dodd obviously follows author Stephen Covey and his 7 habits of a highly effective person.

Begin with the end in mind.

But Dodd’s presentation was more of a show-and-tell to his audience from the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives. He prompted a Chatbot to actually generate some amazing content for us.

I happened to be there at the invitation of a friend who knew I had an interest in AI and had previously written about it.

Questions from the audience began even before the presentation. What about AI’s impact on jobs? What about plagiarism?

Those are certainly legitimate concerns, but Dodd explained that AI, more specifically the Open AI ChatGPT that he demonstrated, are tools built on large language models. It is taught to respond and create content from information humans have created in the real world.

Then he got down to the real purpose of the presentation.


And it was impressive.

With an audience of association executives, Dodd commanded Chat GPT to write copy geared especially to association professionals. First, he told it to write web content promoting an association convention.

Chatbot wrote the content at an amazing speed, maybe 90 words a minute like that showoff in my high school typing class. The copy was appropriate and engaging.

Then he had Chatbot write an email invitation to prospective convention goers, as well as an email to potential convention sponsors. Next, Chatbot wrote three social media posts for a LinkedIn audience.

But the real eye opener for me was when Dodd told Chatbot to write code for a convention landing page. He wrote a prompt to Chatbot that said “create code for a one-page landing page to promote the conference using HTML, in line CSS, which is cascading style sheet, and include a call to action button in the top right of the website.”

Boom! The computer started writing code like it had been coding for years.

When it was done, Dodd clicked on a button and the code instantly turned into a complete webpage with placeholders for the association’s logo.

Someone asked how did the Chatbot know he was asking for an association webpage.

“Because it’s in a chat window, it’s using the context of the things that came above it to generate it’s next response,” Dodd said.

Then he commanded Chatbot to write an exciting announcement about the conference in the style of Shakespeare.

“Hear ye, hear ye,” Chatbot started out as the audience laughed.

Dodd also showcased another AI called Adobe Firefly that generates images and graphics. An audience member suggested a picture of a penguin holding an umbrella in the snow, and it took maybe 15 seconds for Firefly to draw four separate images of penguins holding red umbrellas. In the snow.

As the presentation concluded, there were more questions, of course. Can Chatbot create logos? Add photos to a webpage? Copyrights? Who owns the content? Chatbot accuracy?

“Because they are machine driven, (Chatbot) can sometimes what they call ‘hallucinate,’ ” he said. “It will generate with a high-degree of confidence very inaccurate information.”

We were impressed, but we still had questions about AI’s future — and our own.
“AI should be used in ways to enhance human creativity and not get in its way,” Dodd said. “We have to recognize that it’s here, but use it in a very intentional and appropriate way.

Good luck with that.

BONUS — I wrote another blog post back in January that featured Tulsa software developer John Hassell and his experience of implementing AI into his daily workflow.  Read it here.

Dodd AI2
Bucky Dodd, Ph.D., writes commands to Chat GPT that are instantly carried out on the screen during his demo.

Stick it to The Man

Tennessee MAN
The showdown recently in the Tennessee Legislature

A few days before Oklahoma voted down a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana across the state, a friend and I discussed the issue over coffee. He said he was voting ‘yes’ to the initiative, despite the fact that he has no interest in using marijuana.

I asked him why.

“I want to stick it to The Man,” he said.

I’m right there with you, my friend.

Sticking it to The Man has become a personal avocation for me as I’ve approached my angry old man years (GET OFF MY LAWN!).

Of course, defining exactly who ‘The Man’ is can be a moving target.

In my mind, The Man is an older, wealthy white guy sitting in a corner suite in a tower office, pouring money into campaigns and candidates that promise to resist change at all costs or take America back to the 1950s.

You know, when everyone knew their place. Wink. Wink.

I am a child of the South, so I know how Jim Crow laws were enforced by The Man all over the South until the mid-1960s.

The emergence of MAGA and Red State legislators in today’s world have an eerie resemblance to their ancestors who set up a society in which white folks were guaranteed by law to be the ruling class.

Some famous examples of sticking it to The Man from the past:

Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat to a white person on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., and helped launch the Civil Rights movement.

Clara Luper led a group of young people into a downtown Oklahoma City drug store in 1958 where they sat at the lunch counter until they were served in a time when Jim Crow laws still enforced segregation.

Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in a Major League Baseball game on April 15, 1947 when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Major League Baseball had operated as a segregated sport for almost a hundred years.

Want to see a current-day for-instance?

We can look to the Tennessee legislature to see The Man in action. Less than two weeks ago, the white Republican legislative majority was so offended that people protested lack of restraints on purchase and ownership of assault weapons that they expelled two Black legislators who participated in a protest on the floor of the House.

The two offending legislators had joined a group of young people making their voices heard after a gunman used a high powered rifle to kill six children and teachers at a Nashville elementary school.

Less than a week after they were expelled, county commissioners in Nashville and Memphis reinstated both legislators. Now that’s sticking it to The Man.

I took great pleasure in seeing their reinstatement.

Yet another example of sticking it to The Man, which in this case was an institution:  Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s embraced a system of statistical analysis that turned the way of judging talent by Major League Baseball upside down.

Read the book Moneyball to see how it all went down, or watch the movie starring Brad Pitt.

Sticking it to The Man has been a common theme in movies across the years. Perhaps my favorite is the movie Office Space, which follows a group of young office workers stuck in mind-numbing jobs with an over-the-top intrusive manager and a balky printer.

They stick it to The Man in several ways, but my favorite is a scene where they load the hated printer into the trunk of a car, drive it to a remote location and take out their anger on it with a baseball bat — in slow motion.

Watch the scene here.

My attempts to stick it to The Man are more low key. For instance, I once worked in an office where we were forbidden to download any unapproved software, including my browser of choice, Google Chrome. The IT department told us it ‘did not support’ Chrome, so we were stuck with Microsoft Explorer.

Then a coworker discovered that we could download Chrome without it being blocked by the IT lockdown. I downloaded it and used it for years of software bliss and satisfaction in knowing I was sticking it to The Man in a small way.

OK, I know that’s not a society changing act like leading a group of students to a lunch-counter sit-in. My place in history is on a much, much smaller scale.

But I’ve used the power of the vote to support causes like the expansion of Medicaid in Oklahoma and medical marijuana, both of which had heavy opposition from those in power.

When both of those questions passed, I celebrated to myself, knowing that I had a small part in sticking it to The Man.


Why iPhone is Swiss Army Knife of Communications

Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone in 2007

Earlier this week, my wife asked me to run down to the nearby Dollar General store to pick up a loaf of bread. I jumped into the car and headed that way.

As I neared the store, which is roughly a half mile from our house, I realized I did not have my wallet. Darn!

Then I realized I had my iPhone, and Dollar General accepts Apple Pay.

No wallet. No problem.

I ran into the store, grabbed a couple loaves of bread and headed to the checkout where I payed with the magic of no-touch Apple Pay and my iPhone.

I’ve become a huge Apple Pay fan. I will choose Target over, say, Walmart, because not only does Target offer a nicer shopping environment it also accepts Apple Pay.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about all the handy tools the iPhone (and others Smart Phones, I assume) offer that remind me of the versatility of a Swiss Army Knife.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself carrying something to the trash bin on the side of our house late at night in pitch black without light to aid navigation. But now, I touch the flashlight on the iPhone and I’m guided to and from the bin without tripping over anything.

There are so many other examples. Counting steps when I’m walking. Sending emergency funds on the spot to a child in need in a faraway place. Downloading and reading free books from the library. Sending a Subway gift card to a child in need in a faraway place. Ordering an Uber and watching the progress of the arriving car on a map. Receiving and reading lab results ordered by my doctor. Pointing the phone to the sky and seeing information about the type of aircraft and destination of a flight overhead. Pointing the screen at yourself and taking a selfie.

Oh, and making a phone call. I could go on and on.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPod from a San Francisco stage in 2007, he said “today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.”

It did.

Watch Jobs’ introduction of the device.

With the emergence of iPhone and the many apps dreamed up by developers, the concept of the Smart Phone has washed over so many areas of our lives. It changed telecommunications and it changed how we live. I think for the better.

That’s why the iPhone IS the Swiss Army Knife of communication.

Dispensary names are One Toke Over the Line (Sweet Jesus)

Buddies sign
Sign atop the “Buddies Cannabis Co.” dispensary along N. Western Ave.

I once had a co-worker who spoke fondly — and often — about the awesomeness of “African Trip Weed.” I was pretty sure what he meant.

That was back in the ’80s, when America declared its War on Drugs and put a lot of people into prison for dealing, possessing, using marijuana, whether it was ‘Trip Weed’ or not.

Fast forward to 2023.

Oklahoma has declared marijuana suitable for medicinal use and opened the door to a tsunami of Medicinal Cannabis — maybe that word won’t offend Grandma so much.

According to data I found on the Oklahoma Medicinal Marijuana Authority, there are 2,893 licensed Medical Marijuana dispensaries in Oklahoma.

So, there are legal marijuana shops in strip centers and street corners all across OKC. Just drive up and down a major retail corridor like May Ave. or Penn and count the Medicinal Marijuana stores.

weed dispensaries

I’m not here to argue the merits for or against marijuana use and its benefits or its dangers.

However, I’m completely taken by the creativity the weed dealers use to name their businesses. If there’s a clever pun that can be used in the name, someone has claimed it.

Perhaps my favorite is located on N Western Ave. just north of Memorial Road. There sits “Buddies” waiting to serve your medicinal needs.

Now that’s a clever play on words, even if it’s an obvious one. You don’t have to wonder what business “Buddies” is in.

I go up-and-down Western often, so I see the “Buddies” sign a lot. It got me to wondering about the most clever names for Oklahoma City marijuana joints (pun intended).

So, I asked my friend, Open AI’s Chat GPT, to come up with a list of the top 25 clever marijuana dispensary names in Oklahoma City.

Here’s what ChatBot came up with.

Pot of Gold Dispensary
The Happy Ogle
Puffin’ Stuff
Green Grannies
Joint Venture
The Dankery
Budding Bloomers
Dr. Reefer’s
Bud Brothers
The Green Scene
Higher Ground Dispensary
Treehouse Club
Green Love
Ganja Queen
Calm Waters Cannabis Co.
Higher Calling
Best Buds Dispensary
T-Town Medical Marijuana Dispensary
The Pot House
Mary Jane Dispensary
The Med Shed
The High Road Dispensary
Smokin’ Gun Dispensary
Buzzn Dispensary

Joint Venture may be my favorite.  But where is “One Toke Over the Line (Sweet Jesus)?”

If you’ve seen a weed store with a clever name that’s not on this list, reply to this post and let me know the name. That’s what “Buddies” are for.

Buddies truck

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Fairleigh Dickinson became the second 16 seed in NCAA Tournament history to upend a No. 1 when it beat Purdue on Friday.

As I watched the NCAA Tournament and the stunning upsets of college basketball powers this past weekend, all sorts of emotions bubbled up within me.

The first four days of the tournament brought joy, hope and excitement in the anticipation of what comes next.

Joy, because my favorite college team — Arkansas — brought down the bluest of bluebloods in No. 1 seed Kansas on Saturday and advanced into the Sweet 16.

Hope, because the tournament provides just that for all the have-nots of the college basketball world. Fairleigh Dickinson’s takedown of Big 10 power and No. 1 seed Purdue showed how much reality there is in that hope. It is real.

Anticipation, because there’s even more drama to play out in real time over the next two weeks.

And then there was something we all needed. Diversion.

OK, it’s not an emotion, but diversion is important because there’s a lot of disturbing events like war, economic upheaval and political turmoil that greet us daily. The NCAA Tournament provides much a needed respite.

So, that brings me to the point of this blog post. Hello, Spring!

The NCAA Tournament — and all of sports — make this the most wonderful time of the year.

For instance, when the NCAA Tournament crowns a champion the first week in April, Major League Baseball will be celebrating Opening Day in parks around the country.

And the OKC Dodgers open their season on March 31. The NBA playoffs begin in mid-April — hopefully with the OKC Thunder as a play-in qualifier. The Masters. The NFL Draft. The Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May. There is the women’s NCAA Tournament along with college softball and baseball. And hockey playoffs, as well.

It’s been a long, cold lonely winter for many people, so the sports calendar tells us “here comes the sun” in both a literal and figurative sense.

Sort of like the renewal of life that Spring itself brings, we find joy and hope, anticipation and welcome diversion in the Spring sports calendar.

Thanks to the NCAA Tournament for kicking it all off with an incredible level of excitement.

I’ll celebrate it just like this every Spring.

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman goes shirtless in celebration of victory over Kansas.

The Beatles: Great storytellers in song

The Beatles from an early photo as they landed in New York City.

I was introduced to the Beatles in 1964 by my uncle. I was 11 and he was 19 and had purchased the album, ‘Meet the Beatles.’

In my extended family in 1964, buying something as worldly as a secular rock-n-roll record by the Beatles was a pretty bold step. My uncle told me he didn’t care for the music, even if the Beatles were a pop culture phenomenon.

So, he gave me the album.

Beatlemania washed over me like it did millions of other young Americans. I couldn’t get enough.

All this occurred about the time the Fab Four appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. The adults in my life were horrified, of course.

They objected to the long hair (by early 1960s standards) and especially to the “yeah, yeah, yeah” lyrics of the song, She Loves You.

“So disrespectful,” they told me.

I never figured out whom the Beatles were disrespecting. But you couldn’t get away from She Loves You on the radio.

My dad especially disliked the Beatles, as well as my enthusiasm for them. “No one will even remember who they are in 50 years,” he said in frustration one day.

My dad was not Nostradamus, obviously. But he knew what he didn’t like.

Needless to say, I’ve been a Beatles fanboy now going on 60 years. My fandom grew even more after they quit touring and began releasing studio albums, from Rubber Soul forward.

After they left the stage and ditched the matching suits, they really began their run of producing incredible lyrics and memorable songs.

So, as I was listening to a Beatles playlist on my iPhone today, it occurred to me what great storytellers, they were. Especially Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

All of which leads me to the purpose of this blog post. I’m ranking my 10 top Beatles songs that tell a story.

So, here goes with my ranking of their top songs with a narrative from 10 to 1, along a bonus group of songs that didn’t quite make the cut:

No. 10: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Narrative: Desmond and Molly meet, marry and build a family in a great sing-along.
Key lyrics:
“Happy ever after in the marketplace
Desmond lets the children lend a hand
Molly stays at home and does her pretty face
And in the evening she still sings it with the band, yes”

No. 9: The Fool on the Hill
Narrative: Town folks are disturbed by old man living alone on the hill. So, they mistakenly think he’s a fool.
Key lyrics:
“And he never listens to them,
he knows that they’re the fools
They don’t like him
The fool on the hill sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head see the world spinning ’round”

No. 8: Norwegian Wood
Narrative: Revenge. Woman invites man to spend the night, then makes him sleep in the bath.
Key lyrics:
“And when I awoke I was alone
This bird had flown
So I lit a fire
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?”

No 7: She’s Leaving Home
Narrative: Young girl repressed by her parents sneaks out to make her way on her own
Key lyrics:
“Something inside, that was always denied,
For so many years, 
She’s leaving home”

No. 6: Rocky Racoon
Narrative: Rocky takes his gun to shoot the low-life who stole his girl. Big mistake!
Key lyrics:
“Rocky burst in and grinning a grin
He said, “Danny boy, this is a showdown”
But Daniel was hot, he drew first and shot
And Rocky collapsed in the corner”

No. 5 The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
Narrative: Great white hunter shoots a mighty tiger for sport
Key lyrics:
“The children asked him if to kill was not a sin
“Not when he looked so fierce”, his mummy butted in
“If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him”

No. 4 Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
Narrative: Crazed young man goes on homicidal rampage in bouncy sing-along
Key lyrics:
“But as the words are leaving his lips
A noise comes from behind
Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon his head (do-do, do-do do)
Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that he was dead”

No. 3 Lovely Rita
Narrative: Man intrigued by meter maid’s uniform, asks her out, gets to sit on the sofa with her sisters
Key lyrics:
“Standing by a parking meter
When I caught a glimpse of Rita
Filling in a ticket in her little white book
In a cap she looked much older
And the bag across her shoulder
Made her look a little like a military man”

No. 2: A Day in the Life
Narrative: Man reads news about disturbing car crash, and more.
Key lyrics:
“He blew his mind out in a car
He didn’t notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords”

No. 1: Eleanor Rigby
Narrative: Downbeat story of loneliness and death of a woman who was buried along with her name. Quite a departure for a rock band. This should have been made into a movie long ago.
Key lyrics:
“Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt
From his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?”

Penny Lane
Ballad of John and Yoko
Get Back
Happiness is a Warm Gun
Lady Madonna
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
When I’m 64
Hey Jude

Cancelled! Why Dilbert had to go

I went back through my social media history this morning and came across a dozen or more Dilbert comic strips I have posted over the years.

If you aren’t familiar with Dilbert, it’s an insightful, often hilarious syndicated comic strip that skewers corporate office life. It features Dilbert, an engineer, his co-worker Wally and the pointy-haired boss, among others.

Wally was my personal favorite because of his ability to goldbrick every day and get away with it while still drawing his salary. Oh, and he always has a coffee cup in his hand.

So, it hit me hard when a text over the weekend from a former co-worker at The Oklahoman delivered some devastating news.

The paper is cancelling Dilbert, and for all the right reasons.

Dilbert author Scott Adams revealed himself to be a racist with some horrific comments on his streaming video program, “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.” Here’s an article from the San Jose Mercury News reporting Adams’ comments. 

On the program, Adams cited the results of a poll of Black Americans on racial views, then calling Blacks a “hate group,” and recommending that white Americans segregate themselves.

“Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” Adams said.

He also bragged about spoofing the current sexual/racial identity discussion by claiming to “identify as Black” until now.

I hesitate to publicly call out anyone as a racist, but when someone like Scott Adams uses his platform to disparage an entire race of people, there’s not much doubt about his personal character.

However, Adams isn’t a first-time offender.  I’ve been troubled the past few months about other things Adams has posted, like constantly backing right-wing conspiracy theories.

If you search “Scott Adams” online today, you will find headline after headline about newspapers that are cancelling Dilbert.

Although, Adams attempted to defend himself in a more recent video presentation, he also said that “most of my income will be gone by next week” and that “my reputation for the rest of my life is destroyed.”

You brought this on yourself, Scott Adams. You had to know that racist comments like this would bring down your syndicated comic empire.

Obviously, Adams wanted to get out of the business of creating a daily comic strip. Maybe he will reinvent himself as a leader of a fine organization like the Oath Keepers.

But this isn’t 1950s America where white folks felt empowered to wear their racism on their sleeves. Our society today demands empathy and understanding for everyone.

I’m going to miss Dilbert and Wally. But it had to happen.

For software engineer John Hassell, the future is now for AI Chatbots

Oklahoma-based software engineer John Hassell has embraced artificial intelligence chatbots as part of his daily workflow.

In the past couple of months, I’ve heard more about artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots than any other topic, except, perhaps, the media hysteria caused by Chinese spy balloons.

According to IBM, a chatbot is a computer program that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) to understand questions and automate responses to them, simulating human conversation.

In fact, it was just a month ago that I signed up on the free Open AI ChatGPT website and asked Chatbot to write me a couple of essays on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s tanking philosophy.

The essays turned out well written and with solid arguments.

Meanwhile, we’ve seen a lot of hand-wringing from ethicists over the potential of AI bots to write term papers for high school and college students or mimic the voice of well known people to have them say outrageous things.

So, the jury’s still out on what our future will look like with AI Chatbots churning out reports, papers and art. But there are people who already embrace the potential of chatbots as tools to enhance their workflow.

One of those is Oklahoman John Hassell, who works as an embedded software engineer for Tactical Electronics in Broken Arrow. I’ve known John since 2005, when he was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oklahoma and entered the Donald W. Reynold’s Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition with a concept known as ZigBeef.

As pitched by John and his team in the Governor’s Cup, Zigbeef applied RFID technology to ear tags for cattle as a way to easily identify them and ensure a safe beef supply for consumers.

ZigBeef won second place in the Graduate Division of the Governor’s Cup.

After completing his Ph.D. and pursuing ZigBeef for a number of years, John has gone on to work in embedded software development, as well as applying his skills to mobile app development.

So, I was pleased to hear from him recently when he described how ChatGPT has quickly become a major factor in his workflow.

John said he heard about AI and initially was skeptical of any potential benefits.

But an OpenAI art program known as Dall-E changed his perspective. He asked it to draw a photo from his memory of his family’s old two-story farm house near Okemah.

“On a lark, the first time I used it, I typed in a paragraph describing a mental picture of the sandy road, surrounded by a pecan tree orchard, leading up to the white farm two-story house,” he said. “OpenAI’s system produced something shockingly similar to what I was imagining. The picture it created in seconds was suitable for hanging in my office as a picture.”

Now you know why the art world has been in an uproar over AI potential.

Next, Hassell asked ChatGPT to produce some programming code that involved an obscure Linux script.

“In a second, ChatGPT comprehended exactly what I needed to do, and then provided the working code to do it,” he said. “I had been working on that issue for weeks.”

So, now Chatbot is part of John Hassell’s routine workflow. He produced a legislative mobile app for the Oklahoma Electric Cooperatives Association and is working to implement a “quiz” feature as part of it. The quiz required writing a short summary of each legislator.

He assigned the task to Chatbot.

“Once again, ChatGPT provided an easily readable, accurate summary, correctly punctuated, with an interesting fact, for each legislator and their district,” John said. “It was not completely accurate and had to be checked. Nevertheless, it saved an incredible amount of tedium and time in writing this program.”

I wanted to know more about the perspective John has gained about AI and the Chabot, so I asked him a few more questions. Here they are in Q&A format:

Q: How has AI helped streamline or enhance what you do?
A: I’ve actually started to migrate away from my standard resource of programming help, sites like StackOverflow and Google search. Now, I am able to ask specific questions that tend to get me answers quicker.

Q: Isn’t using an AI Chatbot considered cheating?
A: It is somehow cheating the same way that leveraging a calculator was somehow cheating in the 1970s, or that using a tractor instead of a mule team was cheating at the start of the last century. New technology is neither ethical or unethical, it just is. We will find if we aren’t using this technology in future years we are just left behind.”

Q: How much do you worry about inaccurate feedback you receive from Chatbot?
A: In my few short weeks of usage, it has indeed been inaccurate many times. However, the inaccurate solutions provided, or the prose presented, still brought me much farther and quick ahead than without it.

Q: There seems to be some fear about how AI will impact our future in a negative way; what is your perspective on that potential?
A: I can tell you that after using ChatGPT the past few weeks, the user interfaces on my smart phone, on my truck radio, even on most websites, seem antiquated.  Having to search for, and manipulate computer controls, in such a precise and particular manner feels so “old” already. Not to be too dramatic, but this will change will be huge… and it’s happening with record speed.

Q: What else would you like us to know about the topic of AI Chatbots or your work?
A: Interestingly, I’ve gotten better at using ChatGPT in my programming work by thinking less like a computer programmer in many ways. Now, instead of overly-specifying what I need, and the way I need it, I revert to more-human prose, asking what I ultimately need… not trying to tell ChatGPT on how to find the answer for me. I’m having to de-program my decades of learning and specifying the minutiae of how to get things done with a computer. Now, ChatGPT has learned to do a lot of that. I look forward to seeing these improvements in all the tedious things we all have to deal with in interacting with all the machines that are here to help us.

Takeaway: I only heard about ChatGPT a few months ago, and thought that its impact wouldn’t show up for years while it was being perfected.

But as John Hassell has demonstrated, Chatbot’s future is now. We should embrace it.

How to save a life

Sarah Stafford poses in her South Florida residence

EDITOR’S NOTE: For the past year and a half, my 24-year-old daughter, Sarah, has worked as a “tech” at drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation centers in South Florida. She is trained in CPR because of the potential for relapse and overdose of recovering addicts. Sarah is a recovering addict herself, and lives in a nearby home occupied by other recovering addicts with house rules that support their road to recovery. It’s not always easy, though. Temptation sometimes leads addicts to relapse with potential deadly consequences. This is Sarah’s story about a recent incident in her home.

By Sarah Stafford
Around 1:40 pm on Wednesday, January 11th, my housemate came home and went into her bedroom. About two minutes later she comes out and says, ‘Sarah can you come check on my roommate, I think she’s asleep but I also think I heard the death rattle, so can you wake her up and make sure she’s OK?’

I said ‘of course,’ and got up and went in there. The light was off cause we thought she was initially asleep. I shake her leg and say her name and she doesn’t respond. I shake her leg a little harder and say her name a lil louder, and she still wouldn’t respond. I get up and turn on the light and she’s pale but also blue around her eyes and lips. I notice a trickle of blood that’s come out of the corner of her mouth. I tell her roommate to call 911 and run into the living room and grab a thing of NARCAN. I wait a minute or two and am saying her name and lightly slapping her in the face to wake up. My housemate gets off the phone and is attempting to call our other housemate , whom the girl that OD’d is really good friends with. As I grab and administer another dose of NARCAN. the fire department calls us back asking if she has a pulse.

I check both her carotid and radial pulses, which were there but very faint. The fire department tells us we need to begin giving compressions. I look at my housemate, and she says she doesn’t know how, so I begin giving compressions consistently for about three minutes, and I’m getting exhausted.

The fire department tells me to do five. break two. which I begin doing, and as I start doing that my housemate I’m working on is starting to show signs of coming back. She’s gasping a bit and her eyes are starting to roll back. As the paramedics rush in 8-9 deep, I’m still working on her and she sits up gasping and choking but still isn’t really there. Three or four paramedics help her stand up and assist her outside to the gurney, where they give her a third dose of NARCAN in an IV. She goes to the ER and gets discharged that same evening. I was able to see her more alive and as OK as she can be after something like that as I help her pack her things and she returned to detox that night.

My comments: As scary of a situation it was, I’m grateful we had the best possible outcome for such a thing, and I’m grateful my housemate said something when she did or it could’ve been a completely different outcome. NARCAN saves lives, and I truly got to see that. While I hope to not have to do anything like that again I’m grateful I’ll know exactly what I need to do.

Editor’s note: Sarah, I’m so proud of you for jumping in and putting your life-saving skills to work and saving this young woman’s life. You are making a difference. Stay on this difficult road to recovery and continue to make a difference for the people you live with and serve.