Joel Christiansen

As of today, May 19, 2024, here is how I've used generative AI/LLM tools:

Nothing on this page or anything written in my voice on the internet was generated by AI. I deeply value writing as a tool for thinking, self-expression, and connection with other humans. I am committed to using my own voice when writing anywhere on the internet and don't foresee that changing in the future.

I use AI for coding. I am proficient in building production web applications and no-code integrations/automations that leverage LLMs, vector databases, and generative AI. My use of these tools tends to be judicious (i.e. I try not spam magic wand and twinkle emoji features too hard 🪄✨), but I definitely feel the value that LLMs bring to working with code and human language. I use the Cursor code editor for pair programming assistance, inline code suggestions, troubleshooting, and brainstorming. I heavily revise AI-generated code for clearer naming, human readability, and style.

I occasionally use OpenAI (playground, not ChatGPT) and Anthropic for thinking through original ideas. For example, I'll put initial drafts of my writing, journaling, emails, etc. into AI and ask questions about how I can formulate things more clearly or concisely. I'll explore areas of my writing and thinking that might not make sense, or areas where there are gaps in my logic or reasoning. In general, I use it as a digital rubber duck.

I use Perplexity for many information-based questions that I would have consulted search engines for in the past, like "when do dogs lose their baby teeth?" and "how many pounds of tomatoes per plant?" Like most people, I'm fed up with the quality of the user experience on Google and other search engines and Perplexity feels much better for the time being.

Finally, I use AI for translation. I've been continuing to learn written Japanese and German, both of which I've passively used since youth but have struggled to speak regularly (I don't live around many Japanese or German speakers). I am trying to adopt the mindset that AI has practically eliminated language barriers in the written word and the only barrier is cultural curiosity. I try to embrace the imperfection of AI translations, and focus instead on the wonder and learning that comes from deepening my understanding of languages.