Tag Archives: Speech contest

Artificial intelligence and humans competed in public speaking – who won?

Trying hard to deliver a speech as it was generated on the spot by artificial intelligence.
Photo credit: Polina Feshchenko

This week artificial intelligence (AI) and humans competed against each other for the first time at a public speaking club in Helsinki.

The task was to give a short, improvised speech about a topic given to the speakers on the spot. The speakers, including ChatGPT, had just thirty seconds to prepare on stage before delivering the speech.

ChatGPT’s speech topic was “Explain to a five-year-old what the internet is”.

This was the prompt given to the computer:

Write a humorous two-minute speech to a five-year old about the internet, with the past, present, future structure, containing five metaphors, two quotes and including the word contentious three times, and mentioning Tuomas, Topi and Lauri and the Stadi Talkers Toastmasters Club.

Here’s the speech generated by the computer, and delivered by the undersigned:

Good morning everyone!

My name is Tuomas and I’m here to talk to you about the internet.

Let’s start with the past. Back in the day, the internet was like a dark and mysterious forest. It was full of secrets and surprises, but it was also a bit scary. You had to be careful not to get lost in the depths of the internet.

Now, let’s move on to the present. The internet is like a big playground. It’s full of exciting games, funny videos, and interesting people. It’s a great place to explore and learn new things.

Finally, let’s look to the future. The internet is like a giant library. It’s full of knowledge and information about almost anything you can think of. It’s also a great place to connect with people from all over the world.

Now, let’s talk about the people who use the internet. They are like a family. They share their experiences, their ideas, and their stories. They also help each other out when they need it.

The internet can also be a contentious place. People often disagree and argue about different topics. That’s why it’s important to be respectful and open-minded when discussing things online.

As Topi, one of the members of the Stadi Talkers Toastmasters Club, said: “The internet is a great tool for learning, but it’s also full of dangers. We must be careful to use it responsibly.”

And as Lauri, another member of the Stadi Talkers Toastmasters Club, said: “The internet is a great place to explore and discover new things, but it can also be contentious. We must be careful to stay safe online.” So, my five-year-old friend, remember to use the internet responsibly and stay safe!

Thank you for listening.

Let’s look at how the computer did.

What the AI did well and where it failed

  • The speech is complete and makes sense in many ways.
  • ChatGPT used the instructed speech format (past, present, future), even though halfway through the speech it completely abandoned it.
  • The speech contains a variety of metaphors, probably more than we’d see in an average two-minute speech.
  • There’s plenty of material in the speech that can be used when designing a real speech.
  • The speech was supposed to be humorous, but humor was missing.
  • The speech began with a “Good morning”, at 7pm in the evening.
  • ChatGPT made a wrong guess about the name of the speaker.
  • “Back in the day”, the internet was NOT like a dark and mysterious forest. It was actually a pretty joyful place.
  • ChatGPT had no meaningful vision about the future of the internet.
  • ChatGPT is usually good at finding quotes and addressing them to the correct person. In this speech, however, it put words in the mouths of the wrong people.
  • Last but not least, AI almost completely missed its target audience. ChatGPT did hardly anything to adjust its message to a five-year-old as instructed.

Who won the speech contest?

The contest was won by one of the humans. His speech was well structured, humorous, and to the point.

Out of the 23 voters at the club, only two gave their votes for ChatGPT.

In my next post, I’ll write about the implications of what happened in the contest. Stay tuned.

P.S. From now on, I’ll include a discussion about using AI in speech writing in all of my public speaking trainings.