Using AI to Reduce Tedium

Musings on the mundane

I ran across Ghost Extension today, a tool that uses ChatGPT’s API to summarize uploaded documents. You can even ask questions based on the context of the document, like “What is the move-out policy?” in this lease example:

Screenshot of Ghost Extension, with a chat-like question area on the left and the document on the right

Yes, there’s potential for issues, like with legal documents. But! I think this application of ChatGPT is great, and would help me tremendously when reading dry or longform content. And when asking questions, it’s cool that the app highlights the relevant section of the document.

What are a few other forms of tedium we could cut out, using ChatGPT? Creating outlines for an article is one, and has been a use for OpenAI’s previous models for years now. But what about outlining other tasks?

They don’t need to be computer related either. Recipes are increasingly hard to find on the web; search results are stuffed full of ad-ridden copyrightable stories that happen to include a recipe at the end. ChatGPT gave me a decent banana bread recipe, which isn’t far off from how I make it, save the yogurt:

Banana bread is a classic and delicious treat that’s easy to make. Here’s a simple recipe for you to try:


2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 large eggs 3 ripe bananas, mashed 1/3 cup plain yogurt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(I’m genuinely curious about the yogurt)

Explaining complex subjects is another good use. Sometimes I don’t want to spend a large amount of time to research a topic that I saw in passing; I want the quick explanation I’d receive asking someone in person.


explain quantum computing like I’m 5


Quantum computing is like playing with a magic toy that can do lots of things at once! It uses tiny, tiny particles called qubits that can be in many different states at the same time. This makes it really good at solving some really big problems that regular computers can’t solve. It’s like having a superpower!

(Though, when I asked ChatGPT to clarify on what having a superpower is like, it failed to load a response.)

What if we took this all the way, and made into a search engine? That’s been done, with interesting results. But what if we could feed everything into an AI search engine that exists solely on your computer? Ask it to find that specific document you downloaded and moved 3 months ago, which had a green graphic on the third page (this is how my memory works).

This could be a great feature of a virtual assistant. We were promised “powerful” conversational features 10 years ago, but every major virtual assistant has stagnated since. Asking questions or issuing commands outside a specific pattern fails frustratingly, with no conversational memory. I want to be able to say things like, “hey, remember that light you just turned on? Turn it off, and turn on the one in the kitchen.”

Or: “On the Secret Yak Society project, remind me if Bob Notayak wanted red or blue for the subterranean laboratory door labels.”

This would be a task I’d be digging through emails or notes for, and scrubbing through a meeting recording, before eventually noting to ask about it during the next correspondence.