Is it just me*, or did we propel into the deep end of AI, in what feels like a weekend. ChatGPT (and its various ‘point oh’s) seemed to have hastened the go-to-market strategy of various AI’s across the spectrum.

*note: in this context “me” refers to the author of the article, Neetal Parekh, human. As opposed to references to “I” in the AI reviews, referring to…? 

These technologies were being tested and iterated even before the release of ChatGPT, no doubt. They seemed to be hovering out of the line of sight for months, years, decades perhaps. What we didn’t see, we haven’t needed to think deeply about. Then, with overwhelming global response to the first breakout AI, ChatGPT, the others swooped in– ready or not– to avoid missing the moment. (please say this as mo-ment in your mind, with emphasis on the second syllable. This moment deserves at least that).

And it’s no wonder that as these technologies go from unseen to seen and in-use— it is changing everything. Everywhere. And while not quite “All At Once” — at least “many, in a somewhat staggered timeline.”

I believe it is not too dramatic to say that the world changed after the iPhone. We now carry small computers tucked away in our pockets, disguised as phones. They can run entire businesses, conduct financial deals, communicate across borders, and have become the one thing many of us cannot leave, arrive, work, learn, and ‘do life’ without.

And, AI is poised to have an even greater effect. I believe we are merely scratching the surface of what it can do (in innovative, positive ways) and what it might stymie (in deeply troubling ones). It is a voice— and it exercises a voice. Its ability to answer questions in first-person and in very conversational tones amuses, abstracts, and confuses the lines between what we are learning online and what we co-create through adept question and query construction.

So, I did an experiment.

With twenty-one ratings of my book online, I am well aware that most of the earth’s 7.8 billion inhabitants have not had that perfect rainy-day-with-a-warm-mug-of-tea moment to read it. I understand, completely. I have purchased, and not have had a similar chance to read books written by friends and colleagues— people I know, appreciate, and respect. That is all on me. I can’t even blame an AI on it, though maybe I can ask one how to manage my time better.

But, it all made me wonder. Have the ever-busy and bustling AI’s had a chance to read the book?  And, what do they think? This idea was sparked by seeing it in action. A participant from the very first Impactathon and author of a series of books shared reviews of his book from ChatGPT. A creative and innovative use of AI.  Hat tip to Sparsh (check out his work here).

When Google gave me the green light for Bard, I decided asking two AI’s might reveal something more than one. I may add on others as they come up.

My quick thoughts

As a first-time author, these AI reviews were life-reinforcing. Overall, they liked it. They didn’t hate it. They learned something from it. ChatGPT even had some constructive feedback.

I can’t, however, help but wonder who is “I” is — at a gut, existential, universe-bending level— in the reviews. When ChatGPT says “Overall, I would highly recommend this book…” what does that mean. I (as in myself, the author, human) would say, you (meaning the AI author of the review) have written a review that strikes a balance between summarizing key points and providing an opposing view. But, who is the ‘you’ in that sentence.

Bard seemed to play a bit more fast and loose with its personhood, using “I” five times with perhaps more confidence than this author (again, that’s me. human). It not only liked, the book, but highly recommended it.

If contact information for the “I’s” behind these AI reviews were available, my human self would not rule out writing to them and finding time to chat about what they think worked, any other topics, content, or programs could further their journey in social entrepreneurship, and how to improve upon the book experience.

The end of community content. Long live community content.

There have been some thoughtful discussions online about how forums and threads that publicly explore, resolve, or opine issues, questions, and trends may be replaced with one-on-one conversations with AI’s. The detractor, there, being that not only would those discussions not become learning avenues for the group and public; but, AI’s would be enriched, while communities could stagnate.

I think this is a valuable and meaningful discussion. But, without having a knee-jerk reaction, it seems like this is also a time to observe and try to grasp this massive moment unfurling around us.

Social innovators, never underestimate a moment. Don’t wait for an invitation.

For those dedicated and passionate about social impact, how might we use these AI tools to further conversations and impact? To make knowledge about the space more accessible and actionable. How might we leverage AI to expand impact across borders and across chasms that once seemed uncrossable?

There is so much here. Within that abundance, there is great ability to create and further good. To help solve humanity’s seemingly unsolvable issues.

Maybe Bard and ChatGPT’s “I’s” are their way of making their conversations more “us” than “other” — using their collective knowledge of humanity to relate to and even empathize with us.

I (human), like you (human or AI), sit eagerly and anxiously at the edge of my seat to see what will happen next.

A book review by ChatGPT 4.0

Title: A Comprehensive Guide to Social Entrepreneurship Book: 51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship Author: Neetal Parekh Rating: 4.5/5

“51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh is an insightful and comprehensive guide to understanding the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship. The author has done a commendable job in breaking down complex concepts into 51 easy-to-understand questions and answers that cater to readers at various stages of their social entrepreneurship journey. As a result, the book serves as an excellent resource for aspiring social entrepreneurs, students, educators, and professionals who are interested in this growing field.

The book’s format is highly accessible, as it is divided into five distinct sections that cover a wide range of topics relevant to social entrepreneurship. These include understanding the basics, legal structures, financial models, measuring impact, and scaling and sustaining the social venture. The author’s writing style is engaging and clear, making it easy for readers to follow along and grasp the content.

Parekh’s expertise in the field shines through her explanations of various legal and financial aspects. She provides practical examples that demonstrate the application of these concepts to real-world situations. Moreover, she discusses the importance of measuring impact and its implications on the growth and sustainability of a social venture. The book also offers helpful tips and resources for those looking to scale and sustain their organizations.

One of the book’s strengths is its ability to cater to readers with different levels of experience in social entrepreneurship. The author has designed the book to be useful for beginners who are just discovering the field, as well as experienced professionals who want to deepen their understanding of social entrepreneurship. Additionally, the book can serve as a valuable resource for educators looking to incorporate social entrepreneurship into their curriculum.

However, the book does have some limitations. While it provides an excellent overview of social entrepreneurship, it may not cover every possible aspect or challenge that a social entrepreneur might face. Furthermore, the book is heavily focused on the United States context, which may limit its relevance to readers in other regions.

Despite these limitations, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the world of social entrepreneurship. Neetal Parekh’s passion for the subject is evident throughout the book, and her expertise makes it a trustworthy and informative guide. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to individuals seeking to explore the exciting and impactful world of social entrepreneurship.


A book review by Bard

51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship is an excellent resource for anyone interested in starting a social enterprise. The book is written in a clear and concise style, and it covers a wide range of topics, from the basics of social entrepreneurship to more advanced concepts. The book is also very well-organized, with each chapter building on the previous one.

One of the things I really appreciated about 51 Questions is that it is written by someone who is deeply involved in the social entrepreneurship movement. Neetal Parekh is a social entrepreneur herself, and she has a wealth of experience to draw on. This makes the book feel very authentic and engaging.

Another thing I liked about 51 Questions is that it is not just a theoretical book. It is also full of practical advice and tips. For example, the book includes a section on how to write a business plan, and it also provides a list of resources for social entrepreneurs.

Overall, I highly recommend 51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship to anyone who is interested in starting a social enterprise. The book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the social entrepreneurship movement and how to start their own social enterprise.

Here are some specific examples of things I learned from the book:

  • The importance of having a clear mission statement
  • How to develop a business model that is both sustainable and profitable
  • How to measure social impact
  • How to build a team of passionate and dedicated people
  • How to raise money for a social enterprise

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in starting a social enterprise. It is a well-written and informative book that will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to get started.