Write (something) off

To write something off is to dismiss it as not worthy of your attention

Today's story: How to use ChatGPT
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Write something off

To write something off is to reject it. And specifically it means, to decide that something is not worth your attention or not worth your consideration. You’re not going to think about it anymore; it’s just not worth it.

Now listen. I know a lot of you have written ChatGPT off. Not all of you, and maybe not most of you. But a lot of you have heard the horror stories and have decided, this isn’t for me. I don’t need to learn this. This isn’t worth my time.

I told you in the lesson: don’t write ChatGPT off . This is going to be important. Maybe it’s not perfect right now. But you are going to remember the first time you used ChatGPT. This is real. Now listen. You have my full permission to write off NFTs . Non-fungible tokens. I have written them off. NFTs are not the future. NFTs are not real. NFTs have no value. Nobody is going to want them; they are a joke. I am not paying attention to them. You do not need to pay attention to them. You can write them off. You can reject them; you can stop paying attention.

The metaverse. You also have my permission to write that off. You do not need to dedicate a single brain cell to thinking about the metaverse. I put the Oculus goggles on once—JR brought them over to my house—and I said, this is not happening. This is not the future. I was skeptical about the metaverse. Then I put Oculus goggles on, and that was all I needed to completely write the metaverse off…at least for now.

But don’t do that with ChatGPT. It’s silly sometimes. It’s often wrong. It feels like a game. But I am here to tell you, you are going to want to know how to use this. It’s going to get better. It’s going to be different. You’re not going to want to miss this moment. Do not write ChatGPT off.

I remember when Google first came out. The previous search engines were Yahoo! and a few others; they weren’t very good. The home pages were cluttered with links and pictures and graphics and popups—just an assault on the senses. Believe it or not, before Google came out, there were big web sites that called themselves “web portals.” Because before Google, internet users didn’t know what to do or where to go. We needed a portal like Yahoo! to tell us what pages to visit. I swear to you this is true.

Then Google came out and it was their logo and one small box on white page. And I swear to you—here’s what people thought: “What am I supposed to do with this?” Where am I supposed to click? they thought. How do I even know what to search for? they thought. And you know what they did: they wrote it off. They wrote Google off. They said, this is not worth my attention. I’m going to keep logging onto aol.com, Altavista, Excite, Lycos, or Yahoo!, where they’ll tell me what links to click on, what the weather forecast is, whatever.

What are some other contexts in which you might dismiss something as being unworthy of your attention? How about dating? Are you the kind of person who quickly writes off a potential match at the first sign of trouble? Or are you a little more forgiving—you can overlook some imperfections early on? I think in the age of dating apps , people are quick to write others off. They’re quick to say, “No thanks, you’re not worth my attention anymore. Block.”

I work with a lot of contractors at Plain English. Years ago, I had contracted with this company that was supposed to help me with the web site. I built the original web site myself, but I needed some technical help when it, you know, kept crashing.

So I had this company that promised to help in emergencies and help with technical problems. And they were great whenever I could get their attention. The problem was, when I needed their help, I couldn’t get them to respond. Days would go by and they wouldn’t respond to emails. I felt like they had written me off—maybe I was too small of a client, I don’t know. Eventually, I wrote them off and switched providers.

JR’s song of the week

JR’s song of the week is “Daylight” by David Kushner. This is a new one—it came out this year. It’s got a mellow sound, pianos and vocals. He’s 22 years old, from Chicago. The lyrics of this song are all about internal conflict, resisting temptation, and trying to do right. “Daylight” by David Kushner is the song of the week.

See you next time!

That’s all for today’s Plain English. Remember—the Plain English ChatGPT challenge is open for business. It starts on June 5, but you are going to want to sign up now at PlainEnglish.com/GPT.

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And listen: if you’re a skeptic, this is for you! If you don’t believe in ChatGPT, if you don’t believe in artificial “intelligence”—I put that in air quotes—then still do the challenge. Why? So you at least know what it is. You’ll get in there, you’ll do the activities. You can still have a lot of fun with this even if you don’t believe in it.

And it’s easy. And the challenge will be fun because it’s with me, I created the activities, I had fun doing it, and we’re going to all do it together. The irony is not lost on me, by the way. ChatGPT is more fun with other people; we are not going to let ChatGPT remove the human element from our lives.

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the ChatGPT challenge will help you and me get to know each other better. I’m not going to say any more than that. Even if you don’t care about artificial intelligence, do this because it’s a fun activity in English. PlainEnglish.com/GPT.

Okay, we’ll be back next week with new lesson topics. Ed Sheeran was in court in London. He was sued for ripping off the music on one of his hit songs. Is that true? Is that really what happened? I’ll tell you about the result of that court case, and what the trial was all about. See you Monday.

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Story: How to use ChatGPT