How to Recognize the Work of an Artificial Intelligence

In the last year, we have written several articles about the use of artificial intelligence in a variety of settings. AI technology can automate some processes that can free humans up for other tasks, which sounds ideal. However, because AI runs on algorithms fed by existing information, it can amplify the biases that are present in the data. For more information about AI bias, check out this article. Another concern is that of teachers and college admissions departments who fear AI writing assistants could be creating the essays assigned in their classes. Thankfully, AI scientists are working on ways to identify whether a writing sample was created by a human or a machine.

AI, Know Thyself

It probably isn’t a surprise to learn that the best way to detect whether a writing sample was created by an AI is to ask an AI. There are two new tools, GPTZero and Originality.ai, designed specifically to detect whether a human wrote a text sample. As an added bonus, Originality.ai also checks for plagiarism, making it a very popular tool for teachers.

But if AI technology has built-in flaws, how accurate will it be when used to detect itself? While no tool is perfect, especially when built on imperfect information, both of these tools are promising in their results.

Comparing Detection Accuracy

On one of my favorite tech sites, Your Nerdy Best Friend, Beth Z. created an experiment to see how accurate the AI detections were, and how consistent the tools were with each other in their findings. I found the results very interesting. If you’re interested in seeing how they did, head to the experiment’s post on her blog.

Summary

It seems artificial intelligence tools taking hold in every industry, with new applications for AI being created each day. While this whirlwind change can be dizzying, it’s nice to know there are developers out there concerned with the ramifications of this technology who are willing to develop counter-tools to keep AI use in check. Are you using any AI tools? Let us know what you are using and what you think of it in the comments.

How To Save a Slide As an Image

Have you ever had access to a slide deck that had a great slide you wish you could save as an image and use in another context? This happens to me all the time, and I used to use the snipping tool to create a targeted screenshot of the area. As it turns out, there is a much simpler way to accomplish this.

Saving a Slide in PowerPoint

Start by opening the presentation and clicking on the slide you want to save. Next, click “file” in the upper-left corner, then “save as.” In the “save as type” field, use the dropdown menu to select JPEG. Then click save.

Screenshot showing the Save As screen with the dropdown "save as type" menu displayed. Red arrows point to relevant menu entries
Image courtesy of Tech-Talk

You will be prompted to choose whether to convert all of the slides (as individual jpeg images) or just the current slide.

What About Google Slides?

If you use Google apps, they have a method for saving slides as images, too! To learn how, check out Tech-Talk’s article on saving slides as images.

ChatGPT Is the Latest in Artificial Intelligence

By now, most of us have encountered “bot” technology. In its simplest form, we encounter them in phone menus, where we are asked questions by the computer to help direct the call. Another place basic bots are used is on a website chat box. In either case, if the answers you give don’t fit what the bots are expecting, the “conversation” comes to a halt with a response that indicates you were not understood.

The next generation of artificially intelligent bots was much more impressive. Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are much better at understanding natural language and responding appropriately. Many of us have one of these digital assistants within reach for most of our day, and some rely on them heavily to manage tasks, appointments, home appliances, and more.

A Leap Forward

There is no doubt that today’s digital assistants are extremely capable. However, ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence created by OpenAI (the same firm that created Dall-E/Craiyon), is next level. Not only can you ask it questions and get detailed answers, it learns from your previous conversations.

There is one caveat, though. ChatGPT gets its information from the internet, which, as we know, is not always factual or correct. Like all AI models, it is only as good as the quality of information fed into it. Earlier AI models ended up revealing our racial biases, such as a racist HR bot or Microsoft’s Tay experiment. Even the Dall-E/Craiyon AI has equity issues. OpenAI is working to offset those issues, but many are skeptical that they can be overcome.

Trying ChatGPT

Currently, you need a free account to use ChatGPT. When you sign up, you are asked for your name and phone number, as well as the reason you want to use ChatGPT. I created one and took it for a spin to write this article. First I asked it what the best fiction book of 2022 was. The answer was a little disappointing.

Screenshot showing the AI responding that it can't access information about current events because it was trained in 2021.

So I asked about the best fiction book of 2021, and I thought this answer was great! Just like a librarian, it tried to remove the subjective “best” and provide titles popular with the general public. Although, a librarian would have asked about books you have liked in the past to personalize the recommendation.

Screenshot showing the AI stating opinions on literary quality can vary from person to person, and lists 8 popular titles.

Next, I asked a question that I didn’t think had an answer. As it turns out, ChatGPT had a pretty good answer.

Screenshot of a complicated answer about how there are many theories and beliefs and goes on to explain some. It concludes that the meaning can be different for each individual.

ChatGPT doesn’t just deal in facts. It can also make up stories, which is why some teachers are concerned.

ChatGPT created a detailed six-paragraph story about cats catching mice.

What Would You Ask ChatGPT?

Even though ChatGPT is not a mystical oracle that can guide us through life, it is a big step forward in the development of artificial intelligence technology. It’s not perfect, but it’s a work in progress. If you had access to ChatGPT, what would you talk to it about? Let us know in the comments.

What You Need to Know Before You Update to Windows 11

Is your computer offering a free upgrade to Windows 11? If so, you may be wondering if it’s a good idea. Some computers don’t handle major upgrades well, especially if the hardware inside is older and the manufacturers are no longer sending updates for it. Also, history has shown new Windows operating systems can be buggy, and early adoption can be frustrating and cause lost work time. Thankfully, Windows 11 has been out for a while now, so the operating system is fairly stable.

Are You Eligible to Upgrade from Windows 10?

Not all machines that run Windows 10 can upgrade to Windows 11. Hardware incompatibilities, inadequate processing speed, and limited storage are among the common reasons machines are left behind. Windows Update can do a preliminary scan to see if your machine is eligible. If not, this message (or one like it) will appear:

Screenshot of Windows Update screen showing warning "this PC doesn't currently meet the minimum system requirements to turn Windows 11" and a link to get a PC Health Check on the right

The “Get PC Health Check” option will scan to see if you can upgrade memory, storage, or other components to become eligible.

If you are eligible to upgrade, you will be offered the option to download and install it right away. The upgrade will go more smoothly if you prepare your computer for the upgrade first. Thankfully, Tech-Talk has written a step-by-step guide on how to get your computer ready to upgrade.

How Is Windows 11 Different?

Even if your computer can handle an upgrade to Windows 11, you may want to hold off. The user interface has changed significantly, and several popular Windows 10 features are no longer available. Wikipedia has a granular list of features that are gone.

If you are ok with giving those features up, and you’re willing to try a new interface, Windows 11 might be for you. To walk you through the new features in Windows 11, I’d suggest either watching this webinar or reading this quick reference guide from Tech-Talk. Both of these resources show where to find the functions you need and how to customize the new interface for your workflow.

Are You Using Windows 11?

Have you upgraded or purchased a new computer that runs on Windows 11? What are your favorite and least favorite things about it? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Countdown of Our Most Popular Posts from 2022

If you have been a faithful follower of this blog, you know that it has gone through long periods of inactivity over the years. This year, we made a structured effort to post weekly to share the services and tools the library provides, help people navigate their devices, and highlight emerging technologies. We took a look back to see our most popular posts of 2022 and linked them here in case you missed them.

#5 – Accessing the Times Union

We recently added one of the local papers, the Times Union, to our digital offerings for our resident cardholders. Not only is it one of our most frequently used digital resources, the post we created with a video showing how to use it was one of our most viewed posts. Note: since we created the video, the link on our website looks a bit different. There used to be one link that led to the daily paper (image format) and another to text-only articles. There is now one link, and the image format can be chosen on the next page.

Screenshot showing Times Union logo and the link to the Times Union on the eglibrary.org website

#4 – How To Spot a Fake Review on Amazon

I learned about the Fakespot service right before the holiday shopping season and had to share it immediately. Available as a browser extension or a website where a link can be pasted, Fakespot combs the listing and reviews and gives both the seller and the item a grade based on how genuine the artificial intelligence believes the reviews to be.

#3 – Check Out These Great New Email Newsletters from NextReads

NextReads is an email newsletter service the library provides to keep readers informed about new publications based on their reading preferences. Patrons can choose newsletters based on fiction genre, nonfiction subject, age group, and more. This year, NextReads came out with two new newsletter categories. This post highlights the newsletters and provides instructions to subscribe.

#2 – Wordle: The Game Everyone Is Talking About

Remember when Facebook was suddenly flooded with those Tetris-like images showing a Wordle score? We wrote a post to let people know what that was all about. Not only is Wordle still popular, but it has also spun off into similar games like Heardle, Factle, and more.

#1 – Introducing Biteable: The Best Free Image Resizer

This was, far and away, our most popular post. I was annoyed when Microsoft axed Microsoft Picture Manager, as it was a quick, easy way to compress, crop, touch up, or resize images. The new image manager in Windows is much more cumbersome, so I went looking for a simpler way to resize images. Enter Biteable, one of my favorite free tools. Given the number of people who viewed this post, I guess I’m not the only one who was looking for this type of tool

Summary

There you have it – our most popular posts of 2022. If you would like to see a tool highlighted or explained on Tech Tips in 2023, let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to cover it. In the meantime, we wish you all a happy, healthy new year!