Ronald Inglehart died in 2021 after an enormously productive life. It is next to impossible to overstate Inglehart’s influence on comparative political sociology. As I am still at the stage where I play with the upcoming nemesis of us knowledge workers (as opposed to pick its silicon brain with a sledgehammer), I asked the OpenAI chatbot to ‘write something in the style of Ronald
This is what I got back from the machine within seconds:
It’s not terribly original but coherent, better written than most of the stuff that my students produce, and it neatly summarises a core idea (or perhaps the core idea) of Inglehart’s oeuvre. Apart from the lack of references and figures, it reads like something that he could have written – perhaps for a text book.
Or does it? There is just one way to find out. And so I put OpenAI to the ultimate test and pasted the first sentence into Google.
As you can see, the first hits are either about Inglehart’s work or written by the man himself, although this single sentence does not even contain the usual catchphrases, ‘post-materialism’ or ‘values’.
One could argue that the new disruptor can fool the old disruptor. But perhaps it’s fairer to say that both softwares have become quite good at recognising and even rephrasing ideas, as opposed to hitting on mere keywords. Either way, all this looks pretty disruptive to me.