What transforms ChatGPT and Bard into successful productivity tools?

What tools and technologies transform ChatGPT, Bard and similar artificial intelligence chatbots into useful productivity tools?

Norman Dorway with four orders

A recent demo from Microsoft integrating ChatGPT into their family of products had over 30k viewers mesmerised as workflow from question to document, event preparation and presentations alike, saved potentially hours of work, transforming what was once hours of drudgery into an almost instant and easy delight. Yes there were a few mistakes, but easily corrected as part of the presented workflow, demonstrating a successful, polished and valuable document and presentation.

Have you ever looked at an empty page and thought "Where do I start?"

The Victorian era first heard the term horror vacui: the horror of an empty space.

Writer's block is well known, procrastination might be considered a similar issue where we prefer distractions to divert from our inability to produce new work or experience a creative slowdown.

It's often easier to start with something than to start with a blank page.

Introducing Templates...

Templates pre-date our modern era by a few centuries and were for example used to define a standard to be copied / reproduced as required; the reference to Norman stonework if you didn't get the link. Form letter, Boilerplate text are just recent names for specific use cases.

Word processors were first to automate creating letters with just names, addresses and details inserted into a template. We're all recipients of a modern descendent, email spam. Invoices/receipts, a more useful example, are easily produced on demand without effort, and some fast food outlets automate the process of ordering and paying for food by capturing rather than disseminating information.

From the Many to the One

The transformation is from using lists to produce a single thing repeated many times, to researching/using information to produce a single thing that scales out to many people.

Specifically ChatGPT and templating offer an opportunity to automate the process of retrieving information, then presenting it in slides, reports and emails using a familiar workflow.

Ease of use

Just as X11, Windows and Mac OS X made working with graphical user interfaces easier, there is an opportunity to integrate ChatGPT, Bard and other artificial intelligence chatbots into our everyday workflow with a common, to our individual industries, set of questions/templates/datasets.

Can we use templating technology now?


Most computer languages have examples helping novices to learn and start a project, many offer specific feature examples that can be used in new or existing projects.

Many online services offer developer tools with examples to ensure easy integration of their products into an app or business workflow.

Whole applications are available on sites such as GitHub and SourceForge.

Open standards

Open standards enable everyone to use these techniques, for example Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), 
have more uses than just web links, for example tel:+447930305004 can be used to call a number from a mobile, and mailto:ahicks@p-o.co.uk can be used to start an email.

Would you like structured emails? Create a template! The following example offers an email that can be used to initiate an email either to a real person or an email bot for automatic processing.


Example email template link

You might be surprised at how many URI schemes there are, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_URI_schemes

Happy templating