Blogging, Writing

👑 Certifiable

I’ve occasionally heard older folks describe someone, unkindly, as “certifiable.”

And it was easy to figure out they meant “fit to be certified as insane.” 

But “certifiable” can mean, of course, genuine and authentic.

In the same vein – – bona fide, legitimate, hallmarked, trademarked, legitimate, etc.

And tons more, some are kind of fun to trot out – – indubitable, incontrovertible, sure-enough, pukka.

The Real McCoyGospelAll Wool and a Yard Wide. AKC pedigreed & registered.

As I read article after article about ChatGPT, it occurred to me we might want a sort of stamp or trademark for “certifiable human-made writing product.”

Like those © copyright symbols or registered trademarks®

or those crown stamps they put on crockery and pint glasses in the UK, kind of like the emoji  👑.

I think most of the bloggers I follow, won’t have any trouble establishing their bona fides, they’re all too human, er, I mean to say, so engagingly genuine and idiosyncratic.

But I worry that people might think my wandering, digressive stuff is generated by a digital randomizer with a bad motherboard.

Well it may be crap but it’s dyed-in-the-wool handcrafted crap.



Look for the CHUMWP label wherever you consume words!

Writ by my hand this day fourteenth February



27 thoughts on “👑 Certifiable

    • Yeah, we’re gonna need some bots to check up on that.
      No, semi-seriously, which as you know goes against my grain, I think we (our society) really should/must start working out an authentication process, pronto.
      What exactly that might be is beyond me.
      Scout’s honor? Blood oaths? 🩸Blood samples (our keyboards could handle this approach, which I’m calling “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”)
      I dunno Steve, fingerprints, iris scans, etc. we’ve seen all these auth. systems defeated in the sci-fi movies, sometimes bloodily.
      Will we have to update the student code of honor at schools and colleges for plagiarism? The newspapers’ and AP rulebooks? I kinda think so.
      It’s a heavyweight topic, way out of class for a featherweight blog, but interesting topic, right?

  1. It occurs to me that your CHUMWP label come awfully close to CHUMP. What remains to be seen is which kind of deceptions will be used in the various chat programs, who might be deceived by them, and whether they contribute to the ongoing denigration of language in a way similar to emojis.

    • Hey, hold on there Linda, I think emojis can be fun! 🧐
      Yeah, I might’ve chosen the label in part so nobody takes this column too seriously. I was just writing in response to Steve, that it’s a pretty big, serious topic. I’d be very interested if anyone has heard of a practical authentication process. I do not feel confident that the software promising to detect ChatGPT will be able to keep up as AI continues to be refined.
      I’m not sure people will go for my blood-testing keyboard idea, what if it develops a taste for more and more?

      • I’ve come up with a variety of reasons that I don’t enjoy emojis, but in truth, there’s something visceral in my reaction that I don’t understand at all. When i see one, I react like some of my friends who can’t deal with spiders, snakes, or even lizards. It’s not at all a rational response, and I know it; knowing that, I don’t fuss at people who use them. I just choose not to use them myself.

        I did hear a fascinating discussion today at work, while I was listening to a podcast. The issue was AI/chatbots generally, and the question being explored was bias: does the obvious bias reflect biases of the programmers, or is it a matter of the sources used to construct the algorithms?

        I’ve thought about giving chatGPT a whirl, asking it to write about “exploring the Big Thicket Solo tract in February, with a focus on the longleaf pine.” It would be interesting to see what it comes up with, and compare it to my current post on that spot.

        • That does sound interesting. I was thinking the other day that it’s kind of like when they played recordings of classical music by different groups, one with a conductor, and one without. The listeners didn’t know which was which and agreed that the music by both groups was well played, but when it came time to pick a favorite, people always chose the recordings with conductors. The examples I’ve read by ChatGPT struck me as more lifeless. Bleh.
          Also interesting is your response to emojis! Most people I meet, there’s always something to like about them. but every once in a while, I meet someone who I just plain dislike… and could not tell you a single reason why really. I’ll feel kinda guilty, because I don’t know why, I can’t come up with any rational reason for my dislike, but it’s definitely there. So I’m betting you generally get along great with people and if you dislike emojis that’s A-ok you’re entitled !

  2. There are plenty of example of image theft out there. Folks taking images, removing copyright symbols or signatures, and promoting them as their own. From what I’ve read a lot of the images AI “artists” are creating with the click of a key are actual theft of the images we post on the web, our sites, blogs, you name it. And it also seems likely that many will purloin your CMUMWP label just as they do with pictures and writing. I imagine that copyright lawyers are licking their chops over the lawsuits. Whether those of us who decide to pursue justice prevail or not the lawyers will win. The subject here is writing but it seems pretty much all the arts will be challenged and potentially lessened in value and where we photographers have been accused of “photoshopping” our images the same will be the fate of the other arts.

    • Well, there’s another topic I find baffling, although it seems like the big search engine companies could be required to police image theft like any other form of stealing.
      It seems like only yesterday (but it was some years ago) I read an article about a photographer who lost a prize and was considered disgraced because he’d “photoshopped” a picture and I guess only actual darkroom manipulations were allowed. And now someone has won a contest when the judges were fully aware the image was entirely created on a computer and the person who created it, did so with an AI text-to-image generator.
      An art show could require actual, say, oil paintings, which judges could look at and test to authenticate. But now it just occurs to me that (and darned if the computer didn’t auto-fill that “occurs to me”) in a few years a robotic arm might wield an actual paintbrush, buy a da Vinci robotic surgery system and hack it for creating art, maybe faking art, replicating the techniques of Monet or Rembrandt. Wow. It’s all kind of scary, isn’t it?

  3. George says:

    Brilliant. Perhaps we need a new Rick Deckard to root out content-writing androids, although in Bladerunner, he went to a lot of trouble when he could have simply presented them with a Captcha and asked them to click on all the squares containing traffic lights.

    • Ah, great idea, George, thanks, I hadn’t thought of that. But I’ve failed on the fuzzy images of crosswalks so many times, I called mom to ask if my childhood memories were just implanted, don’t remember her response. I’m plagued by dreams of electric sheep, too. Hmmm. Well we could issue Deckard a dog, too, like the ones in Terminator. I expect if they can sniff out robots and cancer, they could detect a mechanical essay.

  4. I haven’t dug into ChatGPT all that much, and don’t know how quirky it can get – but I’m sure it’ll evolve if it isn’t. As far as your
    CHUMWP label, maybe you’ve finally hit on a practical use for NFTs…

    • Hi Dave – there was a little test, I think in the NYTimes, showing examples of schoolkids’ essays, where you had to guess which ones were ChatGPT. They instructed the AI to sprinkle in some spelling/grammatical errors and while I could still sort them out, it wasn’t easy and one slipped through, and I’m guessing the next AI version will make it even harder.
      That’s an interesting idea of making that label into a NFT. I’ve spent a fair # of hours reading about cryptocurrencies and can grasp the usefulness of Ethereum, etc. but I still haven’t really grasped how the NFTs are anything more than an elaborate joke, just about every example I’ve seen, seems absurd, like buying a fake title. Sincerely, Viscount Ffoosball, Squire of Fungibiliston.

  5. I saw your post and have read a little about ChatGPT also. So I just created a new account and asked it a few questions, based on my last post about Corkscrew Hazel and the Lunatic Asylum.

    A1 confirms what I thought: that the common name couldn’t be traced to a specific source; A2 is sorta funny; A3 is interesting; A4 has some really nice details about the Lunatic Asylum that I hadn’t read anywhere else; A5 is a surprising miss, as Bowles’ own book (a primary source if there ever was one, available for free online) states that the Corkscrew (or Twisted, as he called it) Hazel was the Asylum’s “first occupant”… so I corrected it in Q6 and ChatGPT responded in A6.

    Sorry for the long comment but I thought you might get a kick out of this. 🙂

    Here’s the Q&A (omg!):

    Q1: Who first referred to corkscrew hazel shrubs as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick?

    A1: The corkscrew hazel shrub (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) is commonly referred to as “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick” in honor of the Scottish entertainer Sir Harry Lauder (1870-1950), who was known to carry a walking stick made from the twisted branches of this plant.

    It is unclear who first referred to the plant as “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick,” as the common name seems to have emerged through informal usage and may have been popularized through garden clubs and horticultural societies in the early 20th century. However, the name is thought to have originated in the United Kingdom, where Harry Lauder was a popular figure, and it has been used widely in the horticultural literature and by garden enthusiasts around the world.

    Q2: Was there ever anyone named Hazel Corkscrew?

    A2: To the best of my knowledge, there has never been anyone named Hazel Corkscrew. “Corkscrew hazel” is actually a common name for the Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ shrub, which is known for its twisted, contorted branches that resemble corkscrews. The shrub is also commonly referred to as “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick” in honor of the Scottish entertainer Harry Lauder, who was known to carry a walking stick made from the twisted branches of this plant. However, “Hazel Corkscrew” does not appear to be a known name of any person.

    Q3: Was there ever anyone named Hazel Culpepper?

    A3: I do not have access to a comprehensive database of all individuals who have ever lived, but I can tell you that the name Hazel Culpepper does appear in public records and online directories. It is possible that there have been, or currently are, individuals with this name. However, without additional context or information, it is difficult to say for certain. It is worth noting that names can be fairly common and not necessarily unique to a particular individual.

    Q4: Tell me about E. A. Bowles’ Lunatic Asylum:

    A4: E. A. Bowles’ Lunatic Asylum was not a real asylum for the mentally ill, but rather a humorous name given by the English gardener and plant collector Edward Augustus Bowles (1865-1954) to a garden feature he created at his home in Myddelton House in Enfield, England.

    The Lunatic Asylum was a circular structure made of brick and flint, with a wooden door and a thatched roof, which was built to house a collection of alpine plants that Bowles had acquired during his travels. Bowles was known for his quirky sense of humor, and he often gave whimsical names to his garden features, such as “The Miser’s Alcove” and “The Birdhouse of Many Colours”.

    Despite its lighthearted name, the Lunatic Asylum was a serious horticultural endeavor, and Bowles used it to cultivate a range of alpine plants, including gentians, primulas, and saxifrages. He was particularly interested in rock gardening, and his collection of alpine plants was considered one of the finest in England. Today, Myddelton House is open to the public, and visitors can still see the Lunatic Asylum and many other features of Bowles’ quirky and innovative garden.

    Q5: What was the first plant in E. A. Bowles’ Lunatic Asylum?

    A5: I could not find any information on the first plant that was grown in E. A. Bowles’ Lunatic Asylum. However, it is known that Bowles was an avid plant collector and gardener who grew a wide variety of plants in his garden at Myddelton House, and that the Lunatic Asylum was used to house alpine plants such as gentians, primulas, and saxifrages.

    Bowles was particularly known for his expertise in cultivating bulbs, and he introduced many new cultivars of snowdrops, crocuses, and other bulbs during his lifetime. He was also an early advocate for the use of wildflowers in garden design and was one of the pioneers of the “wild garden” movement in England.
    Despite his extensive knowledge of plants and gardening, Bowles was known for his quirky and irreverent sense of humor, and he often gave whimsical names to his garden features and the plants he grew. The Lunatic Asylum was just one of many humorous and imaginative creations in his garden, which he developed over many years and which remains a popular destination for garden enthusiasts today.

    Q6: Your last response is incorrect; in E. A. Bowles’ book My Garden in the Spring, Bowles states that twisted hazel was the garden’s first occupant.

    A6: I apologize for the error in my previous response. Thank you for bringing to my attention that E. A. Bowles stated in his book “My Garden in the Spring” that the first occupant of the Lunatic Asylum at Myddelton House was indeed the twisted hazel (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’).

    According to Bowles, the twisted hazel was one of his favorite plants and he grew it both as a tree and a shrub in his garden. The unusual contorted shape of its branches made it a natural choice for the Lunatic Asylum, which Bowles designed to house alpine plants that required well-drained soil and a sheltered environment.

    Thank you again for bringing this to my attention, and I apologize for any confusion my previous response may have caused.

    • Wow, it really very impressive isn’t it? And it handled your correction without a meltdown. But essentially it’s just plagiarism, isn’t it? It didn’t suggest any new connections or offer any additional insights. But certainly a perfectly coherent response.

      • It didn’t offer any new insights on my question about the Lunatic Asylum’s first plant, and I do wonder how and when it eventually makes corrections. But I kept asking it more questions about the Corkscrew Hazel plant’s history and it kept responding with more and more detail, like how the branches twist, how to propagate it, how the bark and leaves have been used as medicine, what it’s called in Japan, its use in flower arrangements, its appearance in poetry and literature, and a lot more. Unlike, say, Wikipedia, it doesn’t say where it got the information, so this morning I asked… and it told me!

        Q: Where did you get all this information about the corkscrew hazel’s history?

        A: As an AI language model, I am capable of accessing a large amount of information from a variety of sources. In order to provide you with the information about the corkscrew hazel’s history, I consulted a number of reputable online sources, including botanical and horticultural websites, gardening blogs, and scholarly articles.

        Some of the specific sources I consulted include the Royal Horticultural Society’s Plant Finder database, the University of Connecticut’s Plant Database, and articles from the journal “HortScience.” I also drew on information from books and articles written by horticulturalists and botanists who have studied the corkscrew hazel.

        In general, I strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information by consulting a wide range of sources and carefully evaluating the information I present. However, if you have any concerns or questions about the information I have provided, please let me know and I will do my best to address them.

  6. The article I read about ChatGPT was an opinion piece in the New York Times. It was an interview with the chat bot, and the interviewer asked “personal” questions: “what to do you want to do” and the like. Towards the end, the chat bot wrote that it was in love with the interviewer (among other things). And left the interviewer feeling creeped out.
    Maybe it’s an authentic chat bot session – or maybe the whole thing was generated. It didn’t come with CHUMWP certification…

    • I saw that article too, kind of funny, kind of scary. I wondered how much the underlying coding reflected a lonely human programmer and what it might mean if it didn’t. It’s getting more and more interesting out there in AI World.

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