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I recently wrote an answer to a Dear Gardian question - “How can I make gatherings more inclusive in regards to drink selection?”
I then ran this same question through ChatGPT after writing my answer. This was my own way of validating that while ChatGPT can definitely push out volumes of content, help with prompts, and even begin to analyze large amounts of information for us, the depth of it requires some human touch - whether in expanding the answer, or clarifying the question, or cleaning up the language used.
Here’s a copy of my transcript with ChatGPT. All lines in bold are my inputs. Italicized lines are ChatGPT responses.
How can I make gatherings more inclusive in regards to drink selections?
Consider offering a diverse range of non-alcoholic options, including mocktails, various sodas, juices, and flavored waters. Additionally, inquire about dietary restrictions to accommodate everyone’s preferences and needs.
What would be an example of a cocktail or mixed drink that can be enjoyed with or without alcohol in it?
A classic example is a “Virgin Mojito” – it’s refreshing and delicious with or without rum. Mix lime juice, simple syrup, mint leaves, and soda water. Add rum for those who want an alcoholic version.
Why is it problematic to call a non-alcoholic drink a mocktail?
Referring to non-alcoholic drinks as “mocktails” may be problematic because it implies that the default or norm is a cocktail with alcohol. Using terms like “crafted” or “premium” for non-alcoholic options can help avoid unintentionally marginalizing those who choose not to consume alcohol.
Why is it problematic to call non-alcoholic drinks “virgin”?
Using the term “virgin” to describe non-alcoholic drinks can be problematic as it may carry connotations of purity or imply that abstaining from alcohol is somehow virtuous. This language might unintentionally stigmatize those who choose not to consume alcohol for personal, health, or cultural reasons. Opting for terms like “non-alcoholic” or “alcohol-free” is more inclusive and avoids potential negative associations.
If using the term mocktail and virgin for non-alcoholic drinks may be problematic, why did you use them?
I used those terms in response to your specific questions for clarity and familiarity. However, it’s important to be mindful of these terms in various contexts and consider using more inclusive language, like “non-alcoholic” or “alcohol-free,” to avoid potential sensitivities.
Can you answer my original question with more inclusive language?
Certainly! To make gatherings more inclusive in regards to drink selections, consider offering a diverse range of beverages, including a variety of non-alcoholic options like mocktails, as well as a selection of sodas, juices, flavored waters, and other inclusive choices. Additionally, inquire about dietary preferences and restrictions to ensure everyone feels accommodated.
[original response, for quick reference: Consider offering a diverse range of non-alcoholic options, including mocktails, various sodas, juices, and flavored waters. Additionally, inquire about dietary restrictions to accommodate everyone’s preferences and needs.]
ChatGPT only identified words as problematic AFTER I identified them as such or inquired about why they might be problematic. And when I asked it to re-answer my question and be more inclusive, ChatGPT couldn’t quite follow its own advice, and re-used the same potentially problematic terms again. It definitely added the term “inclusive”, and “accommodated” to its answer but the true context of the answer did not at all change.