ChatGPT Wrote Part of This Article—It Didn't Go Great

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OpenAI's chatbot, ChatGPT, debuted in November and has quickly become a viral sensation. And having seen its capabilities — producing cogent and creative writing based on user prompts — everyone from venture capital luminaries to my buddies at the bar seem to be saying the same thing: this is about to put knowledge workers like me out of a job. 

Maybe it is. After all, Microsoft announced a multiyear, multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI this week

So for this week's newsletter, I put the A.I. tool to the test. I tasked it with writing a financial blog post on tax-loss harvesting, a topic I chose for two reasons:

  1. I recently wrote a story on the subject.
  2. The rules behind the strategy haven't changed since 2021 — the last year for which Chat GPT has up-to-date information. 

Here's what it produced. Keep in mind, ChatGPT warns you off the bat that it "may occasionally generate incorrect information" and "may produce harmful instructions or biased content."

Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy that investors can use to offset gains in their portfolio by selling investments that have decreased in value. This can be a beneficial way to reduce your tax bill, as it allows you to claim the losses as deductions on your taxes. However, there are some important factors to consider before deciding to pursue tax-loss harvesting.

One key consideration is whether or not the investments you are looking to sell are truly losers. If they still have potential to grow in value, it may be best to hold on to them rather than selling them just to claim a tax loss. Additionally, it's important to consider the wash-sale rule, which states that if you sell a security at a loss and then purchase the same security within 30 days, you cannot claim the loss on your taxes.

Another factor to consider is your overall investment strategy. Tax-loss harvesting can be beneficial in the short term, but it should not be the driving factor behind your investment decisions. It's important to make sure that you are making decisions based on your long-term goals and investment horizon.

In conclusion, tax-loss harvesting can be a useful strategy for reducing your tax bill, but it's important to consider the potential consequences of selling investments before making any decisions. Make sure that your investment strategy aligns with your long-term goals and that you are aware of the wash-sale rule. It's always a good idea to consult a tax professional or financial advisor before making any decisions.

The effect is kind of amazing, and kind of uncanny, right? The writing is somewhat, ahem, robotic, but if you had never heard of tax-loss harvesting, this is admittedly a decent primer, and one that took the A.I. just seconds to write.

But while I wouldn't call any of the bot's analysis "incorrect" per se, you'd need lots of additional context to act on it. You can, for instance, deduct capital losses from your tax bill, but at first only to the extent that they offset like-for-like capital gains. And while you do need to be aware of the wash-sale rule if you sell a stock, it's relatively easy to skirt if you sell a fund. 

I'd say these details are not only relevant, but essential to readers, and I tried to get ChatGPT to include them. But the more I asked the A.I. to flesh out these ideas in its article, the more it began parroting the language I was putting in the prompts.

While A.I. can be a powerful tool, the person feeding it still has to know their stuff to get results that are actually useful to readers. 

Don't just take it from me. Here's what ChatGPT said when I asked whether it was likely to take my job. 

AI is not yet advanced enough to fully replace human journalists when it comes to tasks that require creative thinking, critical analysis, and the ability to understand and interpret complex social and political issues.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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