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I Wish I Were Half the Person ChatGPT Thinks I Am

Yes, I’ve finally crawled aboard the journalist bandwagon about CHatGPT. The reason I’m waited so long is that I don’t really have any valid technical or professional perspective to add to the conversation. All I have is my own personal opinion.

So here it is, for what it’s worth.

For my first test, I wanted to ask ChatGPT about something where there would be a fair amount of information online but also something where I had the advantage of knowing the inside scoop, allowing me to judge the accuracy of its response. So I asked about the Golden Triangle – the outcome of eye tracking studies we did almost 20 years ago (I just had a minor internal meltdown when I did the mental math and realized that was two decades ago).

I have to admit, ChatGPT nailed it. It did an accurate and concise summary. I’m not sure I could have done better myself.

Google’s Golden Triangle, also known as the “Golden Triangle of Search,” refers to the top section of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) where the most relevant and highest-ranked search results are displayed. It is called the “golden triangle” because eye-tracking studies have shown that users tend to focus their attention on the top three results in the search results page, forming a triangular shape.

The concept of the Golden Triangle is important for search engine optimization (SEO) because it emphasizes the importance of ranking high in search results. Websites that appear in the Golden Triangle are more likely to receive clicks and traffic than those that appear lower on the page.

However, it’s worth noting that the layout of Google’s search engine results page has changed over the years, and the Golden Triangle may not be as relevant as it once was. Google now includes various types of results, such as featured snippets and knowledge panels, that may appear above or alongside the traditional organic search results. As a result, SEO strategies have evolved to include optimizing for these new types of results as well.

When I asked who discovered The Golden Triangle, ChatGPT accurately said it was a joint effort.

The concept of the Golden Triangle in relation to Google’s search engine results page (SERP) was not discovered by a single person, but rather through a combination of eye-tracking studies and data analysis conducted by various researchers and digital marketing professionals.

One of the earliest studies that examined how users interact with Google’s search results page was conducted by Enquiro Research in 2005. This study, titled “The Golden Triangle,” found that users tended to focus their attention on the top-left portion of the search results page, where the first few results were displayed.

Since then, other studies and analyses have confirmed the importance of the top section of the search results page, and the term “Golden Triangle” has become a widely used term in the SEO industry to describe this phenomenon.

For the record, the main players in identifying the pattern were Kevin Lee at DidIt, myself and my agency, Enquiro, EyeTools, the San Francisco eye-tracking consultants who conducted the first study and – in an independent study – Jakob Nielsen at the Nielsen Norman Group. It was Kevin and I who gave it the name The Golden Triangle, mere moments before we had to present the findings to a group at a search conference in San Jose.

So let’s try something a little less black and white. Let’s see how ChatGPT does when it has to freestyle a bit. I asked who I was.

The first paragraph was pretty accurate:

Gord Hotchkiss is a Canadian internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) expert. He is the CEO of a digital marketing agency called “Enquiro Search Solutions” which specializes in providing marketing and SEO services to businesses. Gord Hotchkiss is also a well-known speaker and author on the topics of online marketing and search engine optimization.

The second paragraph started a slight pumping of my ego, throwing in some accomplishments I either never did or else can’t remember doing:

Gord Hotchkiss has been involved in the online marketing industry for over 20 years and has worked with a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies. He has written numerous articles on the topics of SEO, online marketing, and search engine technology for publications such as Search Engine Land, ClickZ, and MarketingProfs.

But in the third paragraph, ChatGPT definitely had me confused with someone else:

In addition to his work in the online marketing industry, Gord Hotchkiss is also a co-founder of the “Think Tank of Human Values in Business”, a non-profit organization that focuses on the intersection of business and ethics. He is known for his thought leadership in the industry and for advocating for ethical and sustainable business practices.

Okay, where the hell did that come from? It sounds extraordinarily cool and it’s something I would love to do, but it’s definitely not on my CV. As far as I’m aware, there is no such thing as the “Think Tank of Human Values in Business.” I wish there were, but there’s not.

I tried again. This time, ChatGPT seemed a little less sure of itself. The first sentence was somewhat correct, but after that ChatGPT seemed to manufacture my bio out of nothing but moonbeams and fairy dust. It said I was:

the CEO of a leading digital marketing agency, named “Digital Always Media Inc.” Gord is also a co-founder and chair of the “The Agents of Change” conference, an annual conference focused on helping businesses adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.

Gord has written numerous articles and books on digital marketing and has been featured in several major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

I don’t know who this particular Gord Hotchkiss is, but I’d like to meet him. My AI doppelgänger is leaving me in the dust. I’d better get my shit together.

Or maybe ChatGPT can actually see into the future, showing me the person I just haven’t become yet.

What worries me is how easily ChatGPT constructed complete fabrications of who I was that sounded perfectly plausible. If I didn’t know myself better, I would have simply accepted it as fact. And that – unfortunately – is what we tend to do. We don’t analyze new information and determine if it’s right or wrong. Our default is to believe it’s true until proven otherwise.

It’s this human tendency that flags the real danger with ChatGPT. And, for that reason, I have some more digging to do.

Maybe this other Gord Hotchkiss guy can give me a hand. He sounds wicked smart.

(Image by Brian Penny — Pixabay license)