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ChatGPT seems to be everywhere these days, and much of the discussion revolves around whether it will replace human writers. Much less discussed is its value for research and idea generation. So WhatTheyThink applied ChatGPT’s capabilities to the paper shortage. Eco-Friendly Packaging Materials Supplies
Everywhere you look, people are talking about ChatGPT. From social media forums and mainstream TV news to Fortune magazine, it’s everywhere. Much of the talk is about whether ChatGPT will replace human writers (it won’t). However, much less talk is about using it as a research tool.
ChatGPT can do something that no human being can. In a second or two, it can do a deep scan of the Internet for information and ideas. It scans, not just the top-ranked content as a Google search would, but if pushed, gets down in the deep crevasses of long-forgotten content, too. If you’re stumped, or just looking for an alternate perspective, ChatGPT can be quite helpful.
Since WhatTheyThink has been discussing the issue of the paper shortage in recent months, we decided to apply the omniscience of ChatGPT to the topic. What happens if we ask ChatGPT what alternative substrates are available when traditional stocks are not? We wanted to know what ChatGPT would come up with both in the commercial realm and the packaging realm.
When asked about paper alternatives for commercial printing and packaging, here’s what ChatGPT output. Because multiple ChatGPT queries were run and combined for this report, the output was lightly edited for editorial smoothness but not altered in its substance.
When customers’ favorite stock is not available for commercial printing applications, ChatGPT suggested the following:
These are some interesting answers, and clearly, there is some inaccuracy or lack of nuance in some of them. For example, PET is 100% recyclable but is not always made from recycled material as the original output (“recycled plastics such as PET”) implied. Likewise, while it is technically true that coated paper can be replaced with uncoated paper, we know that this would also require a significant design change to prevent the output from looking muddy. This is a nuance that ChatGPT was unable to recognize. Other lacks of nuance: bamboo paper should be noted as useful for short-run applications, not all applications, and cornstarch-based materials aren’t replacements for commercial printing papers, as requested. ChatGPT also came up with some suggestions that needed to be tossed entirely, such as “digital printing” and “sustainable options…such as FSC paper.”
These examples illustrate why AI writing assistants, no matter how good, still require a competent human author behind them.
What about in the packaging market? What are some of the alternatives your customers can explore?
According to ChatGPT, some alternative substrate options include:
How do you feel about these lists? Clearly, there are some inaccuracies in them, and not all of these alternatives will be one-to-one replacements for your customers’ favorite commercial printing paper or packaging substrate. However, some of these suggestions can certainly get the creativity flowing and spark conversations—and this is one of the benefits of ChatGPT that is less often discussed.
Did anything on these lists strike you as something you might not have thought of on your own and might like to try? Leave a comment!
Heidi Tolliver-Walker is former print industry magazine editor and long-time industry analyst, content developer, author, and blogger. She has written for the industry’s top publications, research companies, and private companies for the past three decades — so long that she still has an AOL address, which she signed up for back when AOL was still cool. You can reach her at [email protected]
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