Tag Archives: speech evaluation

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.

How was the speech that won the World Championship in Public Speaking last night?

The winning speech at yesterday’s World Championship of Public Speaking.

Here’s the great speech that won the World Championship of Public Speaking last night. Watch it for your benefit!

This is my take on what was interesting in the winning speech and what anyone can learn from.

Courage is the key word

The main thing I saw was… courage:

  1. Courage to talk about a topic that comes from a non-Western cultural context.

  2. Courage to avoid exaggerations in body language, use of voice, and props.

    Why do I say this? Because in this contest the judges often reward you for such exaggeration, which looks slightly odd even for many Toastmasters members, let alone non-members.

  3. Courage to take a risk by choosing a speech title that is easily misheard and impossible to understand without hearing the speech itself.

    This sort of a choice about the speech title usually creates confusion in the audience.

    During the speech the audience actually found out that the difficulty to understand the name of the speech matched with the content and the message of the speech.

Other building blocks of a good speech

For me the main thing in any speech is that the content of the speech is clear and there’s a message that is relevant and easy to relate to.

Even better if the speaker is able to make the audience laugh.

The winning speech totally achieved each of the above goals.

I also saw great interaction with the audience. In this case, with a very large audience!

The speaker also did a great job of gradually building expectation during the speech. In this case, he did it by making the audience eager to hear another key word, and having them wait all the way until the end of the speech to hear it. This is a technique used both in suspense movies and in stand-up comedy.

This sort of performance looks easy when you watch it, but it takes not only great talent, but a huge amount of hard work. Like in Olympic sports.

Good to know about the context of this speech situation

Don’t expect to see a speech that takes a strong stance on an important current issue. In Toastmasters contests, you tend to be punished by the judges if you talk about something that can be interpreted as political. This is a challenge for the speakers as they still need to try to say something meaningful.

All in all, great job, incredible achievement, Cyril Junior Dim, well deserved!!

P.S. The topic of the speech was about the difficulty of being proud about what makes you different from everyone else. Because being different from those around you can put you into trouble.

As to myself, life has taught me that where people are different from others, or do something different from what most others do, is usually where they achieve their greatest heights of accomplishment and achievement.

Where we are different from others is what enables us to shine, and also succeed in life, whatever that means to each one of us.

But being different also takes… courage.