Decoding ChatGPT: Exploring the Impact of Politeness on AI Responses

Does it matter if you’re polite to ChatGPT?

As I navigate the world of ChatGPT and witness various user interactions, I’ve noticed something intriguing — a considerable number of users employ polite formulations when submitting their prompts. This has made me think about the significance of politeness in human-AI interactions.

Does it matter if we treat the AI chatbot in the same way we would treat a real-life colleague or assistant?

Politeness adds a touch of familiarity to the virtual interaction, reminiscent of our conversations with fellow humans.

It creates a sense of courtesy, respect, and cooperation, making the entire context a pleasant one.

But does it impact the responses we receive from AI systems like ChatGPT, or is it merely a way to make ourselves feel better about engaging with AI in our work?”

The first response that comes to my mind is that, in the end, it won’t matter whether we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, or formulate prompts as “Could you please summarize this text for me?”

But is this the whole story?

AIs are created in the image of the human psyche, as much as we are aware of it ourselves.

Is there any aspect of learned interaction shaped by our tendency to be kind and nice to others, particularly in professional settings?

Does AI treat polite prompts differently from dry ones?

Does it reward them? Or, more intriguingly, does AI respond differently, perhaps by limiting its responses, when faced with rudeness?

Well, I had to ask.

Here’s ChatGPT’s answer:

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal feelings, so I don’t require politeness in the same way humans do. However, using polite language such as “please” and “thank you” when interacting with me or any other AI is generally considered good practice. Politeness helps foster positive and respectful communication, even though it may not have a direct impact on the AI’s understanding or response. Treating others with courtesy and respect is always a good habit, regardless of whether the recipient is human or an AI.

I asked it to expand its response and be more specific regarding the way politeness can affect human-AI interaction, if at all.

Here is what it had to say.

“Using polite language, such as “please” and “thank you,” when interacting with an AI like myself is generally considered good practice. While it may not directly affect the understanding or response of the AI, it helps foster positive and respectful communication. Here are a few reasons why politeness matters, even in interactions with AI:

  1. Enhances positive interactions: Politeness sets a friendly and cooperative tone in conversations. It can contribute to a more pleasant and productive exchange between users and AI systems.
  2. Encourages respectful communication: Polite language promotes respect for the AI and acknowledges its role as a helpful tool. It reflects the user’s consideration for the AI’s assistance, even though it lacks human emotions.
  3. Cultivates good habits: Practicing politeness in all forms of communication, including with AI, reinforces positive social behavior. It encourages users to treat others, including AI systems, with courtesy and respect.
  4. Sets a positive example: Interactions with AI can serve as a model for human-human interactions. When users demonstrate politeness, it can influence others to adopt similar respectful language and behavior.
  5. Creates a better user experience: Polite language can contribute to a more satisfying user experience. A friendly and respectful environment helps users feel comfortable and encourages them to engage more effectively with AI systems.

It’s important to note that while politeness is encouraged, it’s not obligatory when interacting with AI. AI systems are designed to process and respond to various forms of input, including direct and concise requests. However, incorporating politeness in interactions with AI can contribute to a more positive and pleasant experience for all parties involved.

Remember, whether you choose to use polite language or not, I am here to assist you to the best of my abilities. Feel free to ask any further questions you may have!”

So, here we have it.

While politeness does not directly shape the output, ChatGPT recommends we use it for a better user experience.

Can’t blame it, courtesy does make things more palatable for the human involved in the interaction.

It may also alleviate the guilt or uneasiness some individuals may experience when integrating AI systems into their work.

Not gonna lie, I typed “thank you” when ChatGPT helped me with tasks I didn’t want to start. Using AI is better than procrastinating, I guess. So, I am grateful for anything that helps things move forward, whether it’s human or not.

In the end, I’m more likely grateful to the teams who created these AI systems and made them available to the public.

They help civilization move forward at higher speeds.

How about you?

Are you nice to the chatbot you’re using?

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