AI and the ADHD Community
Yes, yes, the computers will someday be our overlords. Until then, though, ChatGPT will help us share all our amazing ideas with the world.
I've been using ChatGPT for a while now, and it's the single most powerful executive function tool I've tried. Instead of overwhelm and procrastination springing from big projects, I feed my thoughts into ChatGPT and ask it to write an initial outline. We'll haggle over the details, and I'll inevitably pester it for improvements and more information. But the thing gets done. Quickly. And it feels like I'm bouncing ideas off an endlessly patient research assistant who doesn't care how off the wall my ideas are.
It feels like I'm bouncing ideas off an endlessly patient research assistant who doesn't care how off the wall my ideas are.
What to do with AI
Here are some of the things I've used ChatGPT for:
Writing the first draft of an email response.
Writing a text response.
Researching for specific video clips in movies and tv shows.
Outlining presentations and webinars.
Bouncing ideas for a research paper.
Finding peer-reviewed articles to support a point.
I asked ChatGPT what kinds of things it suggests we use it for, and here are its ideas:
Time management: ChatGPT can provide reminders and prompts for tasks, appointments, and deadlines. This can help individuals with ADHD to stay organized and on track with their daily activities.
Learning: ChatGPT can answer questions and provide information on a wide range of topics. This can be helpful for individuals with ADHD who may struggle with traditional learning methods.
Productivity: ChatGPT can offer suggestions and strategies for improving productivity, such as breaking tasks into smaller steps and avoiding distractions.
Emotional support: ChatGPT can provide a non-judgmental and supportive environment for individuals with ADHD to discuss their challenges and feelings. [Careful here. This is still a machine with no empathy.]
Goal setting: ChatGPT can help individuals with ADHD set realistic and achievable goals and provide guidance on how to reach those goals.
My preference is to use it as a research and writing assistant. Getting started with either of these things can be challenging, but ChatGPT lets me share my ideas and edit someone else's work.
How to Use It
In talking to folks about AI, I've found that most people don't really understand how to use it. ChatGPT isn't psychic. You can't input, "Tell me what I should do with my life." That isn't asking for AI, it's asking for Miss Cleo.
Instead, tell it what you're thinking, "Respond warmly and professionally to the following email accepting the invitation and explaining that I would like to talk about [topic] or [topic] on [date]." Then copy and paste the email you're responding to into the chat form.
With this approach of maximizing the information you input and being clear about your expectations for the end product, the AI software understands what you want and how you want it to sound.
You can do the same thing with research. I always ask for peer-reviewed articles on whatever I'm researching so that the sources are of a certain quality. I can bounce from those sources to others by asking ChatGPT for more information on a specific aspect.
I was eating dinner with two college professors this week, and they were lamenting AI. In an academic setting where people are being graded on their knowledge of the material at hand, yes, I can understand why AI can be unethical.
However, I reject the notion that AI is always unethical. To me, it is the kind of assistive technology that our community has been waiting for. It finally allows our research and writing to keep up with our brains. The hyperfocus and feeling that I am finally working how I always should have been is indescribable.
It also requires significant input, including ideas, connections, and other directions, to create anything worth having. This kind of work has always been a hallmark of our community. To me, it feels like this will be the great equalizer where people's ideas and creativity will be the thing that sets us apart rather than our ability to sit still long enough to find all the research.
To me, it feels like this will be the great equalizer where people's ideas and creativity will be the thing that sets us apart rather than our ability to sit still long enough to find all the research.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear from you about your experience using AI and how it has or hasn't been helpful for your ADHD brain. I see so much hope in this technology for us, and I'm really looking forward to what we do with it.