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Reader Beware: This Gear Review Was Written by an AI Bot

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GearJunkie editors explore the great unknown and see just how advanced artificial intelligence is when it comes to writing a gear review.

Artificial intelligence, long a sci-fi dream, has seen a real-world surge this year, including (significantly) the release of applications like ChatGPT and DALL-E. Respectively, these programs generate text and images based off a “prompt” that a human enters to awaken the AI and call upon its database, or internet-crawling abilities, to produce content in mere seconds.

We at GearJunkie have been leaning into the AI landscape this month to better understand its potential and its pitfalls, including possible consequences for things like plagiarism, misinformation, bad facts, and just plain cringe writing.

The results, so far, have been a bit dumbfounding — we are simultaneously amazed, pitched into fits of laughter, and frightened with ChatGPT in particular. It feels weirdly human. It works at lightspeed. How long, we wonder, will writers and editors have a job in this brave new AI world?

All the answers are coming fast. Artificial intelligence is white-hot in the tech world, attracting top talent, media attention, and capital to grow. For now, however, rest assured that the robo-writers will not take over our jobs testing gear.

GearJunkie Tests AI Gear Reviewing

As an experiment, GearJunkie editors prompted ChatGPT to write about the MSR PocketRocket camp stove. We chose this because the PocketRocket also marked the first review by GearJunkie back in 2002.

The images herein come from DALL-E.

Read on for the raw (lightly edited) text. We have not fact-checked every angle, but, overall, as a simple gear review, we tip our hats to AI, who we assume has never even set foot in the outdoors.

As a reminder, our editors asked ChatGPT: “Write a gear review of the MSR PocketRocket camp stove. Includes facts and use-case scenarios.” This is what we got. All Chat GPT-generated text is listed in italics in this article.

DALL-E images of a camp stove, created with the prompt “MSR Pocket Rocket camp stove in use outdoors, realistic photo quality.”

MSR PocketRocket Stove Review

The MSR PocketRocket is a lightweight, compact, and reliable camp stove. It is designed to be the perfect companion for backpacking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

In short: The PocketRocket is an incredibly lightweight stove, weighing in at just 3 ounces. This makes it ideal for carrying in a backpack or other travel bag. The stove is also quite compact, measuring just 3.5 inches wide and 4 inches tall. This makes it perfect for limited space and easy storage.

The stove is incredibly powerful and efficient. It can boil a liter of water in just 3.5 minutes, and has a maximum output of 10,000 BTUs. It uses isobutane-propane fuel, and the burner is adjustable for a variety of uses.

The PocketRocket is also highly durable. It is made of stainless steel and aluminum and is designed to be used in all weather conditions. The stove also comes with a windscreen and heat reflector, making it even more efficient in windy or cold conditions.

Overall, the MSR PocketRocket is an excellent choice for backpacking, camping, and other outdoor activities. It is lightweight, compact, powerful, and efficient. It is also very durable, making it a great choice for any outdoor enthusiast.

Another DALL-E take on the MSR camp stove

The PocketRocket is an ideal stove for any outdoor enthusiast. It is light enough to easily pack into a backpack, and powerful enough to quickly and efficiently cook meals. It is also highly durable, making it a great choice for long-term use.

Whether you are a backpacking enthusiast or just a casual camper, the MSR PocketRocket is an excellent choice for cooking outdoors.

  • Specifications:
  • Weight: 3 ounces
  • Fuel: Isobutane-propane
  • Output: 10,000 BTUs
  • Size: 3.5 inches wide and 4 inches tall
  • Boiling Time: 3.5 minutes
  • Included Accessories: Windscreen and heat reflector

AI Gear Reviews Are Coming

So, now that you’ve read a real-deal AI gear review, ask yourself: Could you tell it wasn’t written by a human? Our editors have to admit, it can be tough.

After experimenting with AI writing tools this week, GearJunkie editors are both intrigued and concerned. Clearly, there is no way that an AI writing assistant can test a hiking boot or camping tent.

But it does a very good job of scouring the internet for facts and impressions. It seems to compile this information into articles that can easily masquerade as genuine testing.

For example, one GearJunkie editor asked the AI tool to write a hunting boot review of a specific product. The AI writer inserted several impressions about the boot that were complete fabrications, including the following passage:

“After 8 miles of walking on ice, I was still comfortable and ready to hunt. The boots had kept me safe on icy terrain, proving they were up to the challenge.”

For the record, the editor had never mentioned a distance walked, or impressions after testing. Instead, the AI simply inserted these assertations. Or to be blunter, it bullshitted us.

Our take? Be aware that the internet is likely even less trustworthy today than ever.

For now, GearJunkie is learning about AI as a tool that can help writers and editors. We’re also watching it as a likely tool of misinformation.

As this technology is rapidly evolving, we are considering our policy on its use. But until then, rest assured our gear testers, writers, and editors all have pulses.

That is, except for Chat GPT!

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