👨‍💻 The Angry Optimist's guide to ChatGPT

👨‍💻 The Angry Optimist's guide to ChatGPT

My tips and experiences for getting started and using ChatGPT. Both for beginners and slightly more advanced users.

Mathias Sundin
Mathias Sundin

Share this story!

Tips and experiences for beginners and slightly more advanced users

Here are my tips and experiences on how to get started and use ChatGPT from OpenAI. From my own use, working with WALL-Y, and from the book I'm writing together with WALL-Y on how to use AI to write better and faster.

It is divided into two parts. The first part is for beginners, the second part contains slightly more advanced tips.


Get a free account with OpenAI

It's free to use ChatGPT, but you need to have an account with OpenAI.

You can get it at chat.openai.com.

You will then get access to ChatGPT 3.5 for free. There is also ChatGPT 4, but it costs $20 per month. If you use ChatGPT a lot, it is definitely worth the money, as 4 is clearly better than 3.5.

Use natural language

My first mistake was using a bit of simplified language. You should not do that. Imagine that you are writing instructions to a colleague in an email. That's how you should write to ChatGPT too.

An instruction for ChatGPT is called a prompt

Prompt is what an instruction for ChatGPT is called. That is, what you write to it to get it to do what you want.

It remembers what you wrote earlier

ChatGPT remembers what you wrote earlier in the same chat. You don't need to repeat the same instructions. However, when you start a new chat, you start from scratch.

It knows several languages

ChatGPT works in many languages, but is best in English.

ChatGPT 3.5 is offline, 4 is online

The free version, 3.5, cannot check current things online, later than September 2021. If you buy the Pro version, 4, it also works online. So does Bing Chat, which is currently free.

Dare to test it

If you feel unsure, just dare to test it. Nothing can break. If you write something it doesn't understand, it will tell you and try to help.

Don't Google - and watch out for hallucinations

ChatGPT is not Google. We have gotten used to googling, but you should do that on Google, not on ChatGPT. It's not good at that kind of answer and can also start to hallucinate.

ChatGPT's biggest weakness is that it can make things up. If you ask a factual question, the answer can be completely or partially wrong, but often sound convincing.

This is how it responded when I asked it to describe who I am.

Prompt/instruction: Describe who Mathias Sundin is.

Mathias Sundin is a Swedish politician and business leader. He was born on January 6, 1981 in Norrköping, Sweden. Sundin is best known for his role in politics as a member of the Liberal Party, a political party in Sweden.

I have been a politician, and sure, I'm leading a small company, but calling me a business leader is a stretch. I was not born on January 6, 1981 and not in Norrköping (but I lived in Norrköping for several years as an adult). I was active in the Liberal Party.

So only about half is correct.

Use ChatGPT to do things

ChatGPT helps you, for example, to write faster, think better, become more creative, get more ideas, and so on. Here's an example.

Prompt/instruction: Give me three examples of slogans for Warp News - fact-based optimistic news. Maximum of five words per slogan.

  • "Brighter future through facts"
  • "Optimism meets reality"
  • "Inspired by the power of progress"

Maybe none of the slogans are the one you choose, but it helps you get ideas and suggestions.

Prompt/instruction: Good morning. I'm going to write a blog post summarizing the year so far and wishing everyone at the school a nice summer. This should be included: Our students have improved their grades, and according to the municipal survey, the staff is happier, but unfortunately truancy has increased. Can you help me write such a blog post? Maximum of 200 words.

Happy summer to everyone at our school! It's time to put another school year behind us and look forward to a well-deserved summer. Before we all head off to enjoy the sun, I want to take a moment to reflect on the progress we've made together over the past few months. It's joyful to see our students improving their grades. Additionally, job satisfaction among our staff is increasing. Despite these successes, we face the challenge of increased truancy, an issue we need to tackle together. Enjoy the summer and recharge for a new school year where we collectively address these challenges.

Ask ChatGPT for help with ChatGPT

If you don't know how to write an instruction/prompt, ask ChatGPT for help. Explain the same way as if you were asking a human for help.

Instruction/prompt: I want you to help me with a formula for Excel, but I don't even know where to start. Please guide and help me.

Or for that matter to get help getting started with ChatGPT.

Instruction/prompt: Hi! I'm a complete beginner at ChatGPT. Can you guide me and help me get started?

Rewrite and summarize

Ask it to rewrite a text. Maybe you want the text to be shorter, more or less formal, contain some specific information, or something else.

Write a prompt/instruction about what it should do with the text, and then paste the actual text.

Prompt/instruction: Rewrite and shorten this text to about half. [TEXT]

You can also ask it to summarize texts.

Prompt/instruction: Summarize the most important points in this text in a bullet list. [TEXT]

There's a lot of help online

You can find tons of prompts online. Most are free, but more advanced prompts are also sold.

When you search, use the word prompt along with what you're looking for, and you'll probably find it. For example: ChatGPT prompt wedding speech.

(Slightly more) advanced

Different Writing Styles

ChatGPT is skilled at writing in different styles. Formal, academic, persuasive, casual, and many more.

You can also ask it to write like famous people. Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Astrid Lindgren, Malcolm Gladwell, and so on.

If you paste one or a couple of your own texts and ask it to analyze these, you can then use the analysis as a prompt. Ask it to follow the style that it has described and it will mimic your writing style.

Receive feedback

Paste a text you've written and ask ChatGPT to comment on it and suggest what you can do to improve the text. You can also ask it to correct spelling and grammar.

Or if you want feedback on your arguments, you can ask it to improve the argumentation, or play devil's advocate and criticize your text.

Explain things

  • Why have heat pumps become so popular in recent years?
  • If I'm traveling on a train at the speed of light and I move forward in the train, why don't I move faster than the speed of light?
  • Explain Claude Shannon's information theory.

ChatGPT often excels at these types of explanations. The advantage is that you can ask it to explain in simpler terms, or if you have follow-up questions. It never gets tired or thinks you're dumb, just ask away.

However, watch out for hallucinations! But I find it better at explaining things than if you ask for facts.

Summarize texts and research papers

If you pay for ChatGPT 4 or use Microsoft's Bing Chat, it can read PDFs or webpages, if you give it an internet address.

Then it can summarize long texts, or extract the most important parts from a research paper.

Can't program? Now you can

I can't code. Despite that, I have a small game on my computer that "I" programmed.

What I did was ask ChatGPT to program it for me. Since I am a complete novice in the field, I asked it to guide me. It did so step by step.

Create various types of texts from one document

The annual report is ready, or you have another long document, which you now need to inform people about its content.

Then you can via Bing Chat or ChatGPT 4 provide an accessible link to a PDF or webpage and from that ask them to create various types of texts. For example:

  • A press release.
  • One or more tweets.
  • A blog post.
  • An email to the staff from the CEO.
  • A Facebook post.

You can point out specific segments or information to be included. Maybe you want to highlight your successful work on climate and environment over the past year. Or there are certain words you want to include.

The same type of document with some variation

Do you often write the same type of document where much of the information is the same, but some parts are different? It could be a weekly report, a summary of a meeting, a program of actions, decisions, or something else.

Then you can have a prompt that describes what parts should be included and how they should be designed (the parts that are the same every time) as well as how the varying information should be inserted and where.

This is more advanced and requires quite a bit of work to get the prompt right, but it can save you a lot of time.

Open AI's tips

Open AI has collected its tips and 'best practices' here.

There are also a vast number of guides online. YouTube is an excellent source of good prompts and tips.

Again – try it out!

It's not hard and when you encounter problems or don't understand something: Ask ChatGPT!

Mathias Sundin
The Angry Optimist